September 28, 2014
The Greek Orthodox Christian Patriarchate says Israel is attempting to divide the Palestinian minority.
The Greek Orthodox Christian Patriarchate in east Jerusalem has expressed its disdain for the Israeli law that considers Aramaic Christians as a nationality; stating Israel is attempting to divide the Palestinian minority.
While many Israeli Christians agree with this new law, the Greek Orthodox Church believes the law further divides minorities living within Israel, by separating Christians from the Arabs.The Church further believes that this division weakens Palestinians.
Christian Orthodox Church spokesman Father Issa Musleh warned the draft law to recruit Arab Palestinian Christians to join the Israeli Defense Forces is part of a ploy to foster internal divisions and tensions among Palestinian Christians, as well as between Muslims, Palestinians and Christian Arabs.
Father Musleh also stated that Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilus the Third issued instructions to counter attempts to recruit Christians to the Israeli army.
“Palestinian Christians are an important part of the Arab and Palestinian nations; we are proud of the Aramaic identity as it reflects history and culture shaped by Arab Muslims and Christians,” Father Musleh said. “Our roots as Palestinian Christians are deeply engraved in history, no one and no group can erase them.”
The law in question, which was passed on September 18, decreed that there is a difference between Christians and Arab Muslims living in Israel, thus creating a separate Christian minority group. Interior Minister Gideon Saar ordered that the population registry recognize Christians as Aramean. This move gives Christians their own representation on the Advisory Committee for Equal Opportunity in Employment Commission.
At the time the bill was passed, MK Yariv Levin (Likud) said “I don’t try to change the reality; the reality is there. There is a big difference between Christians and Muslims, and they deserve recognition and separate representation.”