The good father

Gabriel Naddaf is an Eastern Orthodox priest has reached the conclusion that Christians Arabs residing in Israel must link their fortunes to the Jewish state.

By YUVAL BRANDSTETTER
August 13, 2013 23:12
Members of the Greek Orthodox clergy and altar ser

Members of the Greek Orthodox clergy and altar servers 370. (photo credit: Reuters/Ammar Awad)

The village of Yaffia, between Migdal Ha’emek and Nazareth, is home to a hero.

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.

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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 Istanbul.

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 city.

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 elsewhere.

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.

Father Gabriel 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 subjugated.

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 all time.

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.

Or 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 will.

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 Christians.

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 oppression.

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.

Instead, he belongs to the far greater body of Christianity, from east Timor to Detroit, Michigan.

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 Arabs.

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 dhimmis.

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”.


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