Israel’s Interior Ministry officially recognizes ‘Aramean’ as nationality


Shadi Halul, the Aramean-Christian community leader responds,“It’s a historic decision … proof that Israel protects its citizens & identity of its minorities, unlike all the Arab nations around us,” 

By Yori Yalon


Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Tuesday approved having “Aramean” as a nationality on Israeli identification cards, a move warmly received by Israel’s Christian-Aramean community.

Aramean-Christian community leader Shadi Halul – Photo: YouTube

In a letter written to Population Authority chairman Amnon Ben-Ami, Sa’ar said that after receiving an appeal on the matter, he heard the recommendations of three experts from three different academic institutions, who said the Supreme Court had found that “the Aramean nationality clearly exists, and has the conditions required to prove its existence, including historical heritage, religion, culture, origin and common language.”

Sa’ar instructed clerks at the Population Authority to allow citizens applying for their identification cards for the first time to be registered with Aramean as their nationality, “as long as they uphold the conditions stipulated.”

Aramean-Christian community leader and IDF Maj. (res.) Shadi Halul welcomed the decision.

“It is a historic decision and a historic change for the relations between Christians and Jews in the state of Israel,” Halul said.

He said the move pulled the rug under the feet of anti-Semites and “those who slander the Jewish people and Israel. It is proof that Israel protects its citizens and the identity of its minorities, unlike all the Arab nations around us.”

Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum Director Gabriel Nadaf, one of the original proponents of adding the Aramean nationality to identification cards, called the announcement a “brave decision by the interior minister.”

“All Christians from the 133,000 Christians who live in Israel and belong to one of the Eastern churches can now be listed as a Aramean,” he said.


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