“And a terror from God was on all the kingdoms of the countries, when they heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Yisrael.” (2 Chronicles 20:29)
The “Herev” (Sword) Battalion, comprised of Druze, Jewish and Christian soldiers, are an elite unit specially trained in the Northern Command. (Photo: IDF)
For the first time, the International Fellowship and Christians and Jews, in partnership with the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum (ICRF), will bestow academic scholarships on 40 Christian IDF soldiers, with the goal of enabling them to take advantage of Israel’s advanced higher learning institutions and ultimately helping them integrate into Israeli society.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the Fellowship, and Father Gabriel Naddaf, head of the ICRF, said that they hope that the scholarship program will ease the transition of younger members of the Christian community into mainstream Israeli society, help close socio-economic gaps, and give more Israeli Christians the opportunities that come with higher education.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. (Wikimedia Commons/IFCJ)
Since Christians are not required to serve in Israel’s military, all of the Christian recruits are volunteers eager to do their part to defend their country. Eckstein and Naddaf believe they should be entitled to every benefit in return.
“We believe that every Israeli citizen deserves equal rights and opportunities in all areas of life, while on their part they provide an active share and contribute to Israeli society,” said Eckstein, the Jerusalem Post reported.
His organization and Naddaf’s work together in the Israeli Christian community to encourage its members to serve in the IDF, a project which has grown steadily in recent years. Eckstein said he was happy to see that “more and more young [Christians] are choosing to integrate into society and even serve in the IDF and national service”.
There is Biblical precedent for gentiles aligning with Jewish forces. Yael, a member of the Kenite clan, famously killed Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army, thereby giving victory to the army of Israel and delivering its people – an action for which she was blessed in the Book of Judges.
Naddaf called the scholarship program “a message to the whole world, that two religious leaders from different religions can lead a change in society where they live and work through cooperation.” He also thanked Eckstein for supporting the ICRF.
The Christian leader founded the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum in 2012. In its first year, the ICRF helped to enlist 40 Christian soldiers. By 2014, it had more than doubled its numbers in an upward trend that continued into last year. The ICRF is part of a larger effort by Naddaf to change the perceptions surrounding Israel’s Christian population and help its members become Israeli Christians, rather than aligning with the Arab population.
“Calling them ‘Arab Christian’ puts them on the side of Palestinians and terrorists, when in reality they’ve lived in Israel for generations and just want to live in peace and security,” Naddaf explained in December of last year at a Christmas celebration honoring several soldiers.
Full integration into Israeli society “begins with the youth and continues in enlistment in the IDF or national service and paves the way towards studies in higher education institutions and integration into the workforce. We are there every step of the way in order to encourage, strengthen, and support,” said Naddaf of the scholarship program.
The 40 scholarships will be presented to the IDF soldiers and soon-to-be students on Thursday at the Greek Orthodox Church in Yafa Inman-Naseriyye, an Arab local council located near Nazareth.
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
Sep 30, 2019 0Jeremy Hunt, the British Foreign secretary, has recently commissioned a report on the persecution of Christians, most acutely occurring in the Muslim World, and especially in the Arab/Muslim...
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“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.