The village of Yaffia, between Migdal Ha’emek and Nazareth, is home to a
This hero does not lead his troops into fiery battle. He is,
instead, a man trusting in his robe of office, trusting in his mind and message
and personal faith to protect him against the jihadi hatred swirling
relentlessly around him.
Gabriel Naddaf is an Eastern Orthodox priest,
positioned relatively low within his church’s hierarchy.
His church is
centered in a great city, previously known as Constantinople, today’s
The Orthodox claim barely 30,000 adherents in Turkey; these are
hounded in a stealthy and elegant manner by the present Muslim lords of the
In Jerusalem, the local head of Naddaf’s church is the Greek
Patriarch, who lives in peace and splendor, reportedly undermining the Jewish
state while quietly placating the Palestinian Authority, which is no friend of
Christians, judging by its treatment of them in Bethlehem, Nazareth and
In spite of his lowly position, or maybe because of it, Father
Gabriel Naddaf has reached the conclusion that Christians Arabs residing in
Israel must link their fortunes to the Jewish state. In acting on this
conclusion with fortitude and a free mind, Fr. Naddaf stands in defiance the
1,300-year legacy of dhimmitude – the legacy that both his Jerusalem Patriarch
and Istanbul’s Ecumenical Patriarch continue to observe.
Naddaf is at the forefront of a movement promoting the enlistment of young
military- age Christian men and women into the Israel Defense Force and National
Service. This places him in harm’s way, with threats emanating from both the
Muslim supremacists and the dhimmi Christians.
One has to take pause to
comprehend the enormity of this brave man’s actions. Fr. Naddaf is a tiny cog in
the vast and hoary Church machinery of 1700-years duration.
Yet he stands
resolutely against jihad, and against the system of submission to which all of
his brethren, his village, his city and his faith have long been
The Pact of Omar was signed in the 7th century between the
Caliph Omar al-Khattib and the Patriarch of Jerusalem Sapronius, setting in
place the relationship of dhimmitude between Muslims, Christians and Jews for
This relationship of submission and serfdom, of inherent
inferiority and second-class citizenry, takes on a thousand and one forms.
Examples abound: The permanent prohibition of erecting new churches, and the
requirement of permission from Muslim overlords to repair churches.
the imposition to provide hospitality for Muslim troops in Christian homes and
churches. Or the ban on converting Muslims to Christianity of their own free
These only begin to exemplify the vast jurisprudence of
discrimination called dhimmitude. In fact, the most important prohibition
enshrined in dhimmitude is the prohibition on bearing arms against a Muslim. The
dhimmi knows this is the red line, which directs the jihadi cross-hairs at his
forehead, immutably sentencing him to death. Father Gabriel is crossing that
line in broad daylight.
Father Gabriel Naddaf, born and raised in the
Jewish state among socalled Christian Arabs, finds himself in a reality totally
different from that experienced by the vast majority of Middle Eastern
He finds himself living alongside Jews who have refused to be
dhimmis, who proudly bear arms, who have confronted jihad and dealt it
humiliating defeats while expelling jihadi warriors, thus grinding Omar’s pact
to dust. So thoroughly did the Jews grind up Omar’s pact, they do not seem to
remember it ever existed.
However, the terror engendered by 13 centuries
of Muslim domination has caused dhimmitude to dominate the minds of Middle
Eastern Christians. Fear coerces the faithful to collaborate with the modern
Muslim jihad against the Jewish state.
But not Fr. Haddaf. All evidence
suggests that he has had it with being a dhimmi. Nor does he identify himself as
an Arab. And, in fact, most of the Christians in Israel are not Arabs, nor were
they ever. They are former Greeks, or former Romans, or former Assyrians or even
former Jews. They were here, alongside the Jews, when the Muslims conquered the
country and made it a desert. They and all other dhimmis have ever since groaned
under the yoke of Muslim oppression.
Then, in the 20th century, when the
Jews repopulated their ancient land, the indigenous Christians were faced with a
dilemma. Should they join those who opposed the Muslims, or believe – as most of
the Christian world did and still does – that the sheer weight and malevolence
of the Muslim world will ultimately overwhelm the Jewish insurgency and wreak
its revenge on all who join them? The combination of Christian Orthodox
anti-Semitism and the reign of terror imposed by jihad has left the Orthodox
Patriarchs holding on to the “safety” of the dhimma.
SIXTY-FIVE years of
Jewish sovereignty, of freedom of faith, freedom of conscience and the rule of
law have convinced Father Naddaf that the dhimma’s time is over. The fate of
dhimmi Christians, abandoned to their doom in all Muslim countries including
Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan and now Egypt, informs him that the dhimma is not
protective, as Sharia advocates pretend.
Instead, it is a system of
oppression that must be banished.
The main argument the Church has raised
against Father Naddaf and his call for young Christians to enlist in Israel’s
armed forces and National Service is that it endangers the lives of dhimmi
Christians in the Palestinian Authority and the rest of the Middle East. Father
Naddaf does not hold this argument to be valid. As far as he is concerned,
fighting dhimmitude, and collaborating with the Jews who prove that dhimmitude
can be abolished, is a far better option than 13 more centuries of mandatory
Thanks to this one man’s courage, fear has fallen over the
jihad and dhimma. The foundations of the earth have shaken and the beams holding
up the Islamic universe have begun to fracture. Should dhimmis realize that
dhimmitude is over, that one can rebel and live to tell about it, in freedom,
success, prosperity, might they all rebel, and dismember the pact of Omar? Then
what will the Muslims do? Without the jizya payment Islam extorts from the
dhimmi, how will they keep their economy afloat? For what is the UNRWA budget
but a huge jizya specifically extorted to maintain the jihad against Jewish
state? What is the 95 percent Israeli government subsidy of Arab municipality
budgets if not a blatant example of jizya extorted for fear of an intifada? If
dhimmis are freed from the fear of the assassin’s knife, the explosive “martyr,”
the rain of rockets and the nuclear-armed missiles being readied in Pakistan and
Iran, how will the Muslim impose his reign on them? How will he enforce his
demands to control strategic geography and to occupy the former dhimmis’ lands?
Father Naddaf is a dire threat to the rule of jihad because he does not
represent a tiny band of insurgent dhimmis, such as the Jews.
belongs to the far greater body of Christianity, from east Timor to Detroit,
This great corpus might just rebel against the dhimma, and
decide to kick the Muslims and their intimidation, demands, grievances and
terror back where they came from.
Christians might realize that justice
demands that the number of mosques in the US should equal the number of churches
in Arabia. That Islamic dawa is not the teaching of faith but the propaganda of
jihadi terror. That the Islamic mission to impose Sharia is contrary to
democracy and human rights. That a member of parliament, Muslim or dhimmi, who
threatens the public with an intifada, should be ostracized by the parliament
and banished to join his jihadi brethren.
The sovereign State of Israel
has made two major errors regarding its relationship with Middle Eastern
Christians. First, it placed them in the same category as Muslim
Second, it abdicated its responsibility for the South Lebanese
Army, which was mainly Christian. The first error pushed the Christians further
into the bosom of dhimma and jihad. The second empowered jihad in the eyes of
the dhimmis who had dared to rebel; it re-empowered jihad to terrorize
Father Naddaf shows the way to correct these two evils. He
points the way for all former dhimmis to unshackle themselves, to collaborate
with the cause of freedom, and to shatter the bonds of fear. In doing so, they
will defeat jihad wherever it appears.The writer is a US trained
pediatrician practicing in the Negev. He’s a columnist of Maraah-magazine and
the author of the book “Joe’s Trial”.