Father Nadaf: Arab leaders must stop incitement campaign against me

The Greek Orthodox priest supports IDF enlistment and the integration of Christians into Israeli society; son attacked for upcoming enlistment.

By
December 9, 2013 00:21
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets Father Gabriel Nadaf, August 5, 2013.

Netanyahu meets Father Gabriel Nadaf 370. (photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)

 
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Gabriel Nadaf, whose son was attacked Friday evening and ended up in the hospital, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday that he does not fear anyone and will continue on his path.

Nadaf is a Greek Orthodox priest who supports IDF enlistment and the integration of Christians into Israeli society.

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He told the Post that he has been suffering from incitement for a year and- a-half now, since he called in 2012 for Christians to enter the army.

“I thank God that a disaster did not occur,” he said.

Arab political leaders and some journalists have been inciting against me, “but I am not scared of them,” he said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the attack on Nadaf’s son at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, saying that Israel will not tolerate threats of physical attacks against Christians, Muslims and Druse who “want to link their fate even more to the State of Israel and want to serve in the IDF.”

“We will protect them,” he said.

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In August, Netanyahu met Father Nadaf and said he saluted him for his work to integrate Arab Christians into Israel’s mainstream and for his leadership in the forum for the enlistment of Christian youth into the IDF.

“The Christian youth must be allowed to go into the IDF,” he said at the time.

In August the Prime Minister’s Office said there was a significant increase in the number of Christian enlistees in the IDF – from 35 a year ago to approximately 100 this year, with another 500 young people from the community doing national service.

“My wife is closed up in the house and my second son refuses to leave the house,” said the priest.

“If you want to go in the path that you think is right, then you know they will incite and attack you, but if you don’t do it – who will do it?” asked Nadaf.

Nadaf explained that Arab MKs are confusing the aggressor with the victim and are trying to turn his son into the bad guy.

Father Nadaf specifically pointed out Hadash MK Muhammad Barakei and Balad MK Basel Ghattas for inciting against him.

He has filed several lawsuits against Arab politicians and journalists for slander and is pushing for the Knesset ethics committee to investigate and remove Ghattas and other Arab MKs for incitement.

If Ghattas gets away with this and goes back to inciting against me, “it won’t end good,” warned Nadaf.

Ghattas, a Christian Arab himself, “doesn’t do anything for the Christians.

He entered the Knesset by luck and he attacks me a lot,” he said.

The Arab MKs only work to support the people who voted for them and not everyone else, said Nadaf.

“My son who will enlist soon in a combat unit in the army – people curse him, and I always tell him to ignore them,” he said.

Asked if the police are giving him extra protection, he responded that they are checking his house often.

He said that there are quite a few quiet supporters who are afraid to go public with their support for fear that they will end up in a similar situation as Nadaf now finds himself in.

Asked if there is any Arab politician, or ex-politician who has contacted him or shown his support, he responded that not one of them has contacted him.

He says a Facebook page has been created to show support and that more than 1,000 people have joined.

Asked if he has been in touch with Netanyahu since Friday, he said that he has not spoken with him personally, but he is aware of everything that is going on.

He has spoken with a number of people close to him as well as other senior political figures who have called him.

Asked if he is a supporter of Bishara Shlayan, who is creating a new pro- Israel Arab Christian party, he responded that he is not a political person, but he will do everything to help Christians in all places.

In addition, he is receiving lots of contact from Christians in America and elsewhere in the world who have shown their support.

Asked if the future of Nazareth as a Christian city is at risk, he said that numbers do not matter.

“A Christian who doesn’t believe in coexistence – he doesn’t go the way of Christianity,” he concluded.

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