Caption: Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Father Gabriel Naddaf hand out an award to a Christian soldier.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said she has ordered the state attorney to investigate the case of incitement against Christian soldiers serving in the IDF.
“We will never abandon you,” she said at the Christian Empowerment Council’s annual Christmas party in Nazareth on Tuesday night. “We are with you in these difficult moments,” she said referring to the threats and attacks against Christian soldiers returning to their villages in uniform. Shaked said she told the prosecution to seriously address each case of incitement.
The member of the Bayit Yehudi told the audience that the members of the Christian community serving in the army are fulfilling the vision of first prime minister David Ben-Gurion.
“You are partners in the protection of the country and are breaking the barriers between Jews and Christians who live here together in this country.
Thanks to [Christian Empowerment Council leader] Father Gabriel Naddaf’s operations Christian soldiers from cities and villages are fighting together with Jewish soldiers and [soldiers from] other communities to protect Israel.”
More than 300 people attended the gathering at the Pinchas Lavon cultural center in Upper Nazareth. In attendance were IDF soldiers, Border Police and Israel Police officers, national service volunteers, Jewish and Arab council heads, Muslim, Druse and Beduin clerics, pastors and representatives of various churches in Israel and abroad, volunteers from the Christian Empowerment Council from abroad, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews’ Safwan Marich, Independence Day beacon lighters Nili and Moishe Levy and other dignitaries.
Father Gabriel Naddaf said Jews and Christians, who are the “roots of the country,” should be citizens with equal rights and duties when it comes to joining the army, doing national service and taking responsibility for their role in civilian life.
“Our council’s main mission is to get Christians to integrate into Israeli society, for our youth to enlist to enlist in the army to protect this house, which belongs to all of us,” he said. “If, God forbid, Israel will weaken the Christian population than the same extremist factors in the Middle East will do even worse.”
The Aramean community leader, who has been leading the council since 2012, said he would continue with full force, “despite all the threats and slanders against me, to continue to work for the State of Israel, for the Christians in Israel and for the Christians in the Middle East.”
During the conference, the third time it was held, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared a holiday video greeting and awards of recognition were given out to those in the Aramaean Christian community who were working for the promotion of genuine coexistence in Israel.
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