Father Naddaf of Nazareth with Christian Israeli IDF soldiers at a Christmas party on December 21, 2015.
(photo credit: ISRAELI CHRISTIAN RECRUITMENT FORUM)
For the first time, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum will award academic scholarships to 40 Christians who served in Israel’s armed forces or performed national service.
The aim of the scholarship program is to continue to encourage the integration of young members of the Christian community into Israeli society, while reducing gaps and providing opportunities to acquire a higher education.
“We believe that every Israeli citizen deserves equal rights and opportunities in all areas of life, while on their part they provide an active share and contribute to Israeli society,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the IFCJ.
Eckstein said he was happy “more and more young [Christians] are choosing to integrate into society and even serve in the IDF and national service” thanks to the IFCJ’s work with the community.
Father Gabriel Naddaf, head of the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum called the program “a message to the whole world, that two religious leaders from different religions can lead a change in society where they live and work through cooperation,” while thanking Eckstein for supporting the efforts of his organization.
Naddaf added that full integration into society “does not happen in one day” but rather is a long process that began with the establishment of the Forum four years ago.
“It begins with the youth and continues in enlistment in the IDF or national service and paves the way towards studies in higher education institutions and integration into the workforce. We are there every step of the way in order to encourage, strengthen, and support,” he said.
The scholarships will be presented to the students on Thursday at the Greek Orthodox Church in Yafa Inman-Naseriyye, an Arab local council near Nazareth.sign up to our newsletter