Netanyahu attends pre-Christmas gathering in Nazareth, thanking the local Christians for seeking to bind their future to that of Israel’s.
By Ryan Jones
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday told a pre-Christmas gathering of Christians in Nazareth that they and the Jews are brothers, and that Israel will never cease to defend Christians against the forces that seek to harm and destroy them.
The gathering was organized by the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, whose spiritual leader, Father Gabriel Naddaf, was singled out repeatedly by Netanyahu for his untiring efforts to encourage young Christians to join the Israeli army and fully integrate with Israeli society.
“On the first of December, I took my own son, Avner, to the recruitment center in Jerusalem. He volunteered to become a combat soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. The next day…Father Naddaf took his son, Jubran, to the recruitment enter in Tiberias. He volunteered to become a combat soldier in the Israel Defense Forces,” Netanyahu recounted to strong applause.
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“We are brothers!” the prime minister exclaimed. “We are partners! Christians and Jews and Druze and Muslims who together defend the State of Israel.”Turning to a group of Christian soldiers attending the event, Netanyahu stated, “We are brothers in arms. I commend you on the will to be full partners in contributing to and defending this nation.”
Netanyahu noted that it was not always easy for Arabic-speaking Christians to so fully join themselves to Israel, but vowed that “we will firmly support you against all that would harass you.”
Echoing what Father Naddaf has been busy instilling both in local Christians and Western leaders, Netanyahu pointed out that Israel is the only place in the region where Christians find safe haven.
“Christians are suffering in the Middle East,” said the Israeli leader, recalling the recent “shrinkage and disappearance of entire Christian communities, communities that were there thousands of years, since the birth of Christianity, entire communities that are erased in one fell swoop, brutally, savagely.”
Netanyahu insisted that all who would criticize Israel and work toward the birth of a Palestinian state that would most likely fall to Hamas must “compare this [regional situation] to Israel, the only nation in the region where the Christian population is growing.”
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