The above image is from the official Facebook page of the Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth who encourages Israeli Christian minorities to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

While his English Facebook page was being launched, Fr. Gabriel Naddaf received very exciting news that carries far-reaching historical significance in both the history of the State of Israel and the Middle East:

The Aramaic Christians in the State of Israel have been listed as a national entity on Israel’s civil registry. The primary purpose of civil registration is to create legal documents used to establish and protect the civil rights of individuals.

To read more about this historic decision click here.

The Aramaic nationality in the Middle East has existed for more than 3,000 years. Today, minority Arameans live in a number of countries in the region, most of whom are Eastern Christians.

Father Gabriel with President of the State of Israel, Mr. Reuven Rivlin

Father Gabriel with President of the State of Israel, Mr. Reuven Rivlin

Fr. Gabriel says it is important to point out that the Aramaic language was the language of Jesus Christ, and the Arameans who live in Israel today are direct descendants of the people of the region who lived in Israel at the time as Aramaic and who became Christians at a later period.

Minister of Interior Gideon Saar signed a resolution of the government of Israel regarding the implementation of the “Aramaic-Christian” nationality into the civil registry. By doing so, Fr. Gabriel maintains that a historical injustice was rectified. He said that Israeli citizens of an Eastern-Christian origin have been mistakenly defined as “Arab Christians,” even though besides their day-to-day language, they don’t have any connection to the Arab nationality.

This is the first time that a Middle Eastern country recognizes the Aramaic-Christian minority as a legitimate nationality and acts to preserve it, to teach its language and customs, and to integrate it into society. Israel’s resolution is certainly contrary to the countries in the region, where our brothers and sisters are being systematically slaughtered, churches are being destroyed, and people are forced to hide their identities as Christians. 

Fr. Gabriel: “For every decade the world moves forward, the Arab countries move a decade backwards; Israel took a huge step forward and chose to preserve our identity, as part of the heritage of the groups that make up its identity. This is a celebration day for the Aramaic group, a celebration day for the State of Israel, and a celebration day for the minorities in the Middle East.”Father-Gabriel