Bishara Shlayan, an Israeli Christian Arab from Nazareth who is creating
a new Arab political party, said that the EU boycott of Israeli
businesses and institutions operating in the West Bank is
counterproductive, since it mainly harms Arabs living there.
“The boycott is a big mistake – it is the livelihood for many, mainly Arabs in the West Bank,” Shlayan told The Jerusalem Post,
adding that the absence of Israeli businesses will create more
violence, as more Arabs will be left with no way to put food on their
They should build more universities and factories, he
said, as Arabs also are studying in the universities, work in the
factories and are responsible for most of the new construction.
fact, Shlayan has an idea to build a new Arab Christian settlement,
open to all, in the West Bank. The settlement would have factories and
would seek funding from the EU, as the plan would promote peace since it
would be open to anyone.
He added that it was his dream to also
have a statue of Jesus in Nazareth, similar to the “Christ the
Redeemer” statue in Rio de Janeiro.
Asked about the move by Israel to release Palestinian prisoners, he said that now is not the right time.
murderers is not going to bring peace,” exclaimed Shlayan. He said he
is against the release, and that only after a final peace deal should
prisoners be released.
His party, which is still being sorted
out, has settled on the name “Bnei Habrit [Allies of the Covenant], the
Christian party of Israel.”
The Post reported in July that the
name had been changed from “Bnei Brit Hahadasha” (Allies of the New
Covenant) to just “Bnei Brit” (Allies) in order to get more Jewish
support. Talk of a new covenant disturbed some Jewish supporters, as the
name in Hebrew also means “the New Testament.”
Shlayan went on
to add, “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and the only
one that protects Christians and holy places.”
The Arab uprisings
have led to an increase in the persecution of Christians in the region
and Shlayan believes that a “change in culture” is needed.
He says that he has received messages from Egyptian Christian Copts that they would like to seek refuge in Israel.
Asked about the support his party is getting so far, he said that he has been contacted by people from all over the world.
said that many people are contacting him from abroad and want to
donate, but he still needs funds and other forms of help in order to
fully form his party.
“The Canadian Embassy in Israel
contacted me and said that there were Canadians who want to come to
Israel to meet me,” he said.
A leader of the Jewish community in
Australia says he wants to help. Many nonprofit organizations in Israel
also want to help, he said.
He said that many Russian Christians
have also contacted him, saying that until now, they have not had any
party that truly represents them.
US Christians say they pray
that he succeeds in helping to bring peace to Israel, and say that what
he is doing is a holy mission.