In the past, we have told you about the wonderful Father Gabriel Naddaf, the Israeli Christian priest who partners with The Fellowship in many efforts to make the Holy Land the best home for Christian Israelis that it can be. In this piece by The Jerusalem Post's Ilse Posselt, we get a closer look at the work Father Naddaf is doing for all Israelis:
Father Gabriel Naddaf never intended to step into the limelight. Popularity and prominence hardly figured into his plans for the future. But the Greek Orthodox priest who pastors his flock from Nazareth knew he was called to speak the truth on behalf of Israel, the tiny sliver of a country in the midst of a roiling Middle East where he and his fellow Christians are safe to live, thrive and worship.
Naddaf’s conviction has little to do with politics. The truth, he knew, was found in the source of all he believes: the Bible. And the Bible is clear about God’s everlasting commitment to the Jewish People. Moreover, it teaches that the title deed for the Land of Israel is held by the Almighty and pledged with a covenant to the children of Abraham.
And so the Arabic-speaking, Christian priest who calls the Jewish state home stepped up as an objective voice telling those who wished to hear – and often those who did not – of the freedoms, rights and security Israel’s non-Jewish citizens enjoy.
The past four years have proved particularly eventful for Naddaf. It started with his public call on Christian Israelis to join their Jewish brothers and sisters in shouldering the responsibility of guarding the Promised Land. Then came the establishment of the Christian Recruitment Forum as a formal platform to encourage his flock to join the Israel Defense Forces and the Christian Empowerment Council – a mouthpiece on behalf of Israel’s Christian citizens.
Both the forum’s and council’s efforts are supported by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, led by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who has been by Naddaf’s side since the very beginning, funding the council’s $150,000 annual operating budget.
“We have a wonderful, close relationship, and we are very thankful for the support that enables and strengthens us,” Naddaf says of his backers. “When I described our need for help to Rabbi Eckstein, he promised that his fund, which raises money from Christians all over the world who love Israel, would help us create programs that help Christian Arabs integrate into Israeli society,” Amit Barak, the forum’s project manager, says.
“Our connection with the IFCJ has played an extremely important role in helping us strengthen our relationship with other Christians around the world. We explain to people how Israel is the safest place for Christians to live in the Middle East, and tell them about the efforts being made to help integrate Arabs into Israeli society..."