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A Growing Community of Christians Serving in the IDF

Father Gabriel Nadaf presents a soldier with an ICRF award.

Father Gabriel Nadaf presents a soldier with an ICRF award.
Photo Credit: IDF

Nearly 90 Christian soldiers  from all over the country and from all IDF units came together earlier this week in Nazareth Illit for an event organized by the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum. Although it has only been around for a little over a year, its impact has been astounding. Since its founding, the number of Christians enlisting in the IDF has doubled. According to the forum’s data, 84 Christian soldiers have enlisted since June 2013 alone. In previous years, that would be the amount to draft in an entire year and a half.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed and thanked these outstanding soldiers in a special video message. “The purpose of this forum is clear: to engage Christians who serve in the IDF,” he said. “The importance of your actions goes without saying. I was pleased to hear that over the course of the past year, there has been a significant increase in the number of soldiers. I salute and support all of you.”

“I know that the mission is not always easy,” he added. “But we will be with you along the way. All of Israel is proud and thanks you.”

Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest and president of the Forum, addressed the soldiers as well. “As a Christian spiritual teacher living in the Middle East, I understand that human rights are not something to be taken for granted. For that, I thank the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” he said. “I believe in cooperation between Jews and Christians and our shared fate in a Jewish country. I believe that we can contribute to Israel and I call on all Christians to join the army and  help us to protect this country.”

The founder of the forum, Major Ihab Shelian, who serves in the Israel Navy, was overwhelmed to see so many soldiers of the faith gathered together in one place for the first time, a crowd which included high-ranking officers as well. Certificates of appreciation were presented to all the soldiers.

Female Arab Soldier: ‘I Came to Serve My Country and My Home’



As a fighter on Israel’s southern border, she rose through the ranks to become a commander, teaching soldiers how to combat terrorism and other threats. Just over a month ago, she honorably completed three years of service – one more than the required number for Israeli women.

We had the chance to join Monaliza on the day of her release from the IDF. In this video, she speaks to us entirely in Arabic, explaining her commitment to serve the State of Israel and protect all of its citizens. “I keep the country of Israel safe, not only for the Jews but for the Arabs, too,” she says. “I came [to the IDF] to serve my country and my home.”

Leading the Way for Christian Soldiers in the IDF

One of the soldiers who received an award was Lieutenant Tanus Eid, the first Christian to be an officer of the Ordnance Corps. Lt. Eid sat down with us to talk about his experience.

IDF: What is your role in the army?

Lt. Eid: I prepare the IDF’s military gear such as weapons and tanks. I also oversee weapon repairs.

IDF: Why did you decide to volunteer in the IDF?

Lt. Eid: It was a matter of ideology. Israel is my country. I was born and grew up here. I get the same rights as everyone else, so why not serve in the army like everyone else? I benefit from this country so I have to contribute as well.

IDF: If you could do it again, would you change anything?

Lt. Eid: There is no doubt that I would have joined the army, but perhaps in a different position. At first I wanted to get into the Border Police but after discussing it with my parents, I decided to serve in the Ordnance Corps.

IDF: How will you be celebrating Christmas?

Lt. Eid: The army gives us a holiday so we can spend Christmas with family. I’ll be with my friends and family to ring in a good year.

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6 Responses to “A Growing Community of Christians Serving in the IDF”

  1. I love Israel & the IDF!

  2. There’s nothing wrong with the growing of christians in the IDF.we have the same God.if you guys dont believe in jesus christ then you will not be save..

  3. Steve Moyer says:

    You have a government and a military that respects the rights of Arab and Jew, women and men and does not discriminate against gays. I cannot for the life of me figure out why the U.N. is so concerned with condemning Israel.

  4. It is not only the increasing signs of loyalty among the Christian Arab minority but the traditional steadfast alliance of "blood brothers" in the IDF among the Druze and Circassians who have accepted conscription that deserve much greater attention among blind critics of Israel including the many cynics who accept at face value the statements of Israeli Arab politicians whose first concern has traditionally been to avoid being out of step Muslim Arab community and the Druze population on the golan there is an active and growing political activity not to be placed in the uncomfortable position that would require them to choose between Israeli and a future Palestinian citizenship. No matter how much lip service they pay to the Palestinian cause, the great majority will not willingly give up the real benefits they enjoy in Israel for the illusion of another chaotic unstable and violent society along the lines of Syria or Lebanon. .They know this would be their fate if the Jewish majority were to disappear overnight. F.or its part Israel should make greater efforts to better integrate all of its non-Jewish citizens through national institutions including the army.

  5. Millie Kashuk says:

    How fantastic that Christian Soldiers have joined the IDF to help protect Israel.

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