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Christian leaders tell youth to 'tear up' Israel army forms
Published Friday 25/04/2014 (updated) 26/04/2014 22:25
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JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna and former Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah on Friday urged Christian youth not to enlist in the Israeli military and to ignore Israeli "propaganda" encouraging them to do so.

The statement came after a meeting between the two religious figures on Friday, which followed reports on Tuesday that Israeli authorities would distribute military enlistment papers to Palestinian Christian youth who are citizens of Israel in order to encourage them to voluntarily sign up for military service.

The leaders called upon Christian youth who have received the enrollment papers to "tear them up and throw them away and not to engage with them in any way."

The leaders also stressed the "firm national position of the Christians in refusing to join a military that exercises violence against the rights of the Palestinian people."

The forms to be sent to Christian youth resemble the mandatory enlistment forms distributed to Jewish and Druze Israelis, and the army hopes that by sending these papers more youth will voluntarily sign up to enlist.

Although Christian Palestinian citizens of Israel are currently exempt from military service along with Muslims, a government decision made in February to re-classify Christians as a separate ethnicity distinct from "Arab" raised fears that mandatory enrollment would follow, as it did for Palestinians of the Druze religion in the 1950s.

About 10 percent of Palestinian citizens of Israel, also called "Arab-Israelis," are Christians, while the majority of the remaining are Muslims and Druze.

Although the majority of Palestinians were expelled from their homes inside Israel during the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of the state of Israel, some managed to remain and their descendants today make up around 20 percent of Israel's population.
1 ) Maureen / Australia
25/04/2014 15:11
Bravo Archishop Hanna and Mr Sabbah! Jesus would do the same.

2 ) Mel / USA
25/04/2014 16:04
Bravo!In Israel,nationality is defined(ID card)as 'Jewish',not Israeli! It's an apartheid system ranking in Class # i.e.'Jewish'=Grade 1(Ashkenazi white),Grade's 2-3-4-5 ="Brown"Mizrahi/Haredim),Black Jews,ex-Soviets etc,piled in for demographic'fillers' just above Grade 6='Arab',Palestinian Muslim/Christian! IDF is classed A thru' D =white Ashkenazi,B&C(all other Jews)& D=Bedouin&Druze(native "desert dogs").Quintessential ethnocentric APARTHEID! But worse than S/Africa. Israel=US JIM CROW!!

3 ) Mel / USA
25/04/2014 16:20
Cont: Archbishop Hanna & Mr.Sabbah should also remember that,in apartheid Israel,thousands of compassionate,decent Jewish peace-activist,refusenik Israeli's who can't think/sleep straight due to Zionist indoctrination of hate,are used to being called,'Yafeh Nefesh' by pro-racist-occupationists.'Yafeh Nefesh'='good soul' or 'do-gooder'! Wonderful eh? BUT,in ISRAEL,this is used as a huge INSULT!! I think I'll get a T-shirt with,'PROUD 2B Yafeh Nefesh!',& be happy to explain its meaning:re:Zionism!

4 ) Robby / USA
25/04/2014 17:04
It's funny how many people are getting upset because Israeli Arabs are being given a choice. Be careful, don't want them to think for themselves now, do we?

5 ) Outlier / USA
25/04/2014 19:59
Orthodox Christian leaders in Israel need to think very carefully about religious freedom and national obligation. I believe their stand is short-sighted and ultimately could result in segregation rather than pluralism.

6 ) Dimi / Germany
25/04/2014 20:46
All young people who have Israel papers and live in Israel enjoy a higher living standard than others in the Arab countries,consequently, they are morally oblidged to give something in return to the country and join the army.

7 ) Adam / USA
25/04/2014 21:06
Anyone who claims that Israel is an Apartheid State is a moron. Travel 100 miles in any direction from Israel and you can truly see what Apartheid looks like. This article in fact helps my argument because while the Jewish Israeli's don't have a choice but to enlist, The Arab Christians have a Choice. Members of Apartheid nations would be put to the sword for refusing.

8 ) Mel / USA
25/04/2014 23:20
#4:"choice"?LOL! You mean of joining the same ethnocentric,military Zionist occupation(as local slaves)that bulldozed their homes in a PLURALISTIC Palestine loved by BILLIONS globally&remembered still,as 'The Bride of the Mediterranean'where Palestinians lived/worked successfully with Arabian Jews &took pride in CIVILITY! Until racist,vengeful,hafrada Zionism arrived,planted hate & apartheid atop Orange(Jaffa)groves,Olive trees,human multiculture & HISTORY!As if it'd ALL just-poof-go away? NO!

9 ) Randa Srouji / Canada
26/04/2014 01:12
We do not serve in a criminal mass criminals. We are Arabs and Christians and Palestinians and stand hand in hand with our Muslim, Jewish Arab Brothers and Sisters who love Palestine and defend the Palestinian rights. We all collaborate against all your criminal acts and we do not agree or participate in your criminal aggression against our Nations.

10 ) JoeUSA / USA
26/04/2014 02:46
Robby #4 , what choice , it is like the Confederacy giving southern blacks ( slaves then ) the choice to enlist in the confederate army.

11 ) Robert / US
26/04/2014 05:16
#4 Robby, what do you know ?. obviously notthing , so zip it and go play outside now .

12 ) Christian youth want to / JOIN THE IDF
26/04/2014 10:07
because it is a GREAT JUMPING BORAD to profession, University, SUCCESS IN LIFE!!! they are not so stupid!!! They know that ISRAEL IS A HIGH TECH EMPIRE that offers FANTASTIC ADVANCEMENT TO ENERGETIC YOUTH!

13 ) Scarlett / UK
26/04/2014 10:30
Robby - What did they have before the pushy, mildly optional enlistment paper, written directly to them? Choice, maybe?.....Rather than a misplaced sense of duty........? Or maybe I should stop thinking for myself and just go along with it, eh? Tell me though, are you aware of the strategic importance of militarising the Christian community along with the Druze and Jews? Or have you been good and stayed on the straight and narrow thought path set out for you?

14 ) Mel / USA
26/04/2014 15:33
#!2:"GREAT JUMPING BORAD"(board?)LOL! Yeh sure! Just like stepping on a land-mine! When did you last ask ALL Palestinian Muslims,Christians,Druze, Bedouin WHAT THEY ACTUALLY WANT? NEVER!Before Zionism arrived,they were FREELY literate,educated,professional &successful traders,farmers,academics &STILL remain so under the restrictions of occupation&oppression!They're MORE civilized,advanced &intelligent than you "Arbeit Macht Frei" BORAD's! What are you, a Christian Zionist?LOL!

15 ) Teresa Gill / usa
26/04/2014 18:46
Good article and for creepy commenter #12: This is not a recruitment office.

16 ) Robby / USA
26/04/2014 19:57
10, 11 and 13 - as usual a bunch of westerners who probably have never stepped foot in Israel or the West Bank want to tell Arab's what to do, how to behave and what opportunities to consider. What are you afraid of? That some may actually think for themselves and want to join for advancement which will only hurt your anti-Israel notions? Or are you so bigoted that you don't believe they can't think for themselves?

17 ) Neil / NZ
28/04/2014 07:42
To treat different groups based on race or religion is racist. And it is the policy of Israel.

18 ) Outlier / USA
28/04/2014 18:06
Currently, the enlistment effort is totally voluntary. HOWEVER, if no recruits come of this effort, it has the potential of becoming mandatory. Unintended consequences should always be a consideration in one's - and I mean Orthodox Christian leaders, in this case - actions.

19 ) Scarlett / UK
05/05/2014 13:06
Robby #16 - I live in Ramallah. My friends are Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. They certainly can think for themselves, more so than you I dare say. Have you tried learning Arabic to see what they really think? I suggest you give it a go.
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