Netanyahu meets Father Gabriel Nadaf 370.
(photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)
Nazareth Police arrested a 21-year-old Hadash activist for allegedly attacking
the son of a Greek Orthodox priest because he supports enlistment of Christian
Arabs in the IDF.
The son was about to be drafted into the
Police released the suspect to house arrest for three days and gave
him a restraining order.
“My wife is closed up in the house and my second
son refuses to leave the house,” said the priest, Gabriel Nadaf, according to
Israel’s Channel 2.
At around 7 p.m. on Friday, the suspect allegedly
harassed and threatened Nadaf’s youngest son, and then pushed and hit him. The
suspect then allegedly chased the boy with a stick and beat him severely on the
head and body. The police arrived and arrested the suspected
Nadaf’s son is being treated at the English Hospital in
“As I call for integration in Israeli society, extremists are
trying to divide and tear and incite against me,” the priest said. “The
incitement of verbal threats has passed yesterday into physical violence as
their goal is to intimidate me and my family.”
Deputy Defense Minister
Danny Danon (Likud) spoke with Father Nadaf, who said that the suspect is an
Arab Hadash activist. Danon later spoke with Public Security Minister Yitzhak
Aharonovitch, demanding an end to incitement from Arab Knesset
“Words become deeds; the incitement of Arab Knesset members must
stop,” Danon said. “The situation where Father Nadaf, his family, and Christians
who want to serve in the IDF live in fear and suffer from attacks and harassment
is unacceptable and tough action needs to be taken against the instigators and
In the past year, the number of Christians enlisting
in the IDF doubled. Danon and the IDF have been encouraging Christian enlistment
by holding activities in schools and speaking with families and
Upper Nazareth mayor Shimon Gafsou visited the priest’s son in the
hospital and condemned the violent attack.
“Attacking the son of Father
Nadaf began with incitement and could have ended much worse.
give full backing to those in the Christian community who wish to enlist,” Gafsou
said, according to Channel 2.
Gafsou added that significant measures
needed to be taken against such incitement.
Father Nadaf is openly active
on behalf of the integration of Arab Christians into Israel’s mainstream and is
the spiritual leader of a forum for the enlistment of Christian youth in the
IDF. He has been excommunicated by the Orthodox Church Council, subjected to
death threats and has been the target of verbal attacks from Arab MKs. Science,
Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid) condemned the attack on
his Facebook page on Saturday, and said he expected the Arab parties in the
Knesset to condemn it as well.
“The crazed incitement of some of the
elected Arab representatives toward Father Gabriel and against the idea of Arabs
volunteering for national service has found its expression in this criminal,
violent act,” Peri wrote.
Peri heads the committee that has drafted
legislation aiming to equalize the state’s burdens.
Herb Keinon and
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.