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PM Netanyahu Meets with Father Gabriel Nadaf

PM Netanyahu Meets with Father Gabriel Nadaf

Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed that a joint Government-community forum be established to promote the enlistment of Christian community youth in the IDF and national service and their integration into the life of the state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Monday, 5 August 2013), met with Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth and spiritual leader of a forum for the enlistment of Christian youth in the IDF, Naji Abid, leader of the Orthodox council in Yafia and Lt. (ret.) Shadi Khaloul, head of the forum.

Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed that a joint Government-community forum be established within two weeks to promote the enlistment of Christian community youth in the IDF and national service and their integration into the life of the state. The forum will work to integrate members of the Christian community in the law on equality in sharing the burden and deal with the necessary administrative and legal aspects, protect those who support enlistment and enlistees from violence and threats, and step up law enforcement against those who disturb the peace and incite to violence.

There has been a significant increase in the number of Christian enlistees in the IDF, from 35 a year ago to approximately 100 this year; an additional 500 young people from the community are doing national service.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "Members of the Christian community must be allowed to enlist in the IDF. You are loyal citizens who want to defend the state and I salute you and support you. We will not tolerate threats against you and we will act to enforce the law with a heavy hand against those who persecute you. I will not tolerate attempts to crumble the state from within. The State of Israel and the Prime Minister stand alongside you."

Father Nadaf said, "Our goal is to guard the Holy Land and the State of Israel. We have broken the barrier of fear – the state deserves that we do our part in defending it. Those who oppose the integration of the Christian community in the institutions of state do not walk in the path of Christianity."

ENDS

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