An Arab-Israeli ship captain announced he is founding a Christian-Arab political party that will recognize Israel as a Jewish state and will promote civilian national service.
Bashara Shlayan’s party will be called Bnei Brit HaHadasha, a Hebrew term that can be translated as “new allies” and also “children of the New Testament.” The party is sponsored by Christians from northern Israel and he plans on running a party list in the next Knesset elections, which can take place anywhere up to four years from today.
Approximately 10 percent of Israel’s Arab citizens are Christian, which comes out to approximately 2 percent of Israel’s population.
Fed up with Israeli’s Muslim Arab Knesset Members, most of whom frequently preach hate and incitement against Israel, Shlayan said, “You need to be like any citizen. If you were in America, you wouldn’t be an American? At least in Israel, those who stayed here have been given the right to be a citizen and to integrate. But Israel’s first demand, which I support — and which needs to be understood — is that Israel is the home of the Jewish people.”
“We saw that we have to establish a political party, so we advertised in local Arab newspapers and the initiative took off [attracting] Christians who recognize that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews,” Shlayan said. He explained that the Muslim Arab parties in Israel have an agenda that does not benefit Christians.
He told the Israel HaYom newspaper that he was promoted to form his party after he ran into difficulties in helping his son and nephew enlisting in the IDF. His nephew now is in a combat unit.
Shlayan and supporters have established a pro-enlistment forum that he said has boosted the number of Christian Arab youth who have joined the army, to the extent that the IDF has appointed a coordinator for the Christian Arab sector.
“We… invited the priests of the church to a conference we held in Nazareth Illit. One of them is the patriarch of the Church, Father Gabriel Nadaf, who has drawn the ire of Arab Knesset members after encouraging Christian Arab youth to join the Israeli army. The priest supported us,” Shlayan added.
Nadaf was excommunicated by the Orthodox Church Council after he urged Christian youth to serve in the IDF or in civilian national service.
“The current Israeli Arab leaders think being against Israel is Arab nationalism, and if you object to this way of thinking, you are a traitor. This is what needs to be changed. It is utter stupidity. Therefore, we demand that we Christians be recognized as loyal citizens of the state of Israel.”
Shlayan has lamented harassment from Muslim Arabs in Nazareth who he charged with trying to push Christian Arabs out of the city.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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