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Palestinian priest sacked for backing service in Israel army
Published Friday 09/05/2014 (updated) 11/05/2014 10:19
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An Israeli soldier checks his machine gun on the border between Israel
and the Gaza Strip on March 13, 2014 (AFP/File Jack Guez)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- The Greek Orthodox church in the Holy Land has dismissed a Palestinian priest who publicly voiced support for Christians serving in Israel's army, a church spokesman said Thursday.

Spokesman Issa Musleh said that ecclesiastical authorities decided Tuesday to fire Father Gabriel Nadaf from his post in Nazareth, but were only now making their decision public.

"We warned him before to keep to his priestly duties and not to interfere in matters of the army," Musleh said.

"When he did not heed our warning, we held a meeting of the church court which decided to sack him."

He said no written notification had been given to Nadaf. "We announce this now," he said.

Nadaf said he had received no official notification of the sacking and dismissed reports that he had been fired as media speculation.

"The procedure for sacking anyone as a priest is to invite him to the patriarch's office where he will be presented with a letter of dismissal by the patriarch's secretary," he said.

"I have not received any call or letter from the patriarch's office."

Last month, Israel said it would start sending enlistment papers to all Christian Arabs of military service age, angering Palestinian MKs who accused the government of seeking to divide Christians from Muslims.

Service would not be compulsory for the 130,000 Christian Palestinians who are Israeli citizens as it is for Jews, an army spokesman said.

At present, about 100 Christian Palestinians who are citizens volunteer for military service each year.

The more than 1.3 million Muslim Palestinians who are citizens would not be sent papers at all, the spokesman added.

Nadaf welcomed the move by the military.

"Young people in the Christian community need to understand the importance of serving and getting involved in the country in which they live and which protects them, and in which we are full citizens," he said last month.

He was also pictured in Israeli media sharing a stage with an army officer and Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, a hawkish member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, during a recruiting drive.

Bassel Ghattas, a member of the Israeli parliament for the communist Hadash party, urged Christians who received call-up papers to "send them back or publicly burn them, because the next step could be compulsory military or community service."

Israel's Palestinian minority, which makes up some 20 percent of the population, are the descendants of the 160,000 Palestinians who remained on their land when Israel was founded in 1948.

They complain of routine discrimination, particularly in housing, land access and employment.
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1 ) Robby / USA
09/05/2014 16:51
How open minded of the church.

2 ) Outlier / USA
09/05/2014 18:16
The Greek Orthodox Church is wrong to take this action.

3 ) Colin Wright / USA
09/05/2014 18:19
To Robby #1: 'How open minded of the church.' If it were a matter of a rabbi being sacked for advocating cooperation with the Nazis, would you say the same?

4 ) carlos / usa
09/05/2014 20:07
Colin point is so good! Only an israeli blinded by propoganda could make comments 1 and 2.

5 ) Mel / USA
10/05/2014 00:14
#3:Colin:You read my mind dude! Good for them! I'd imagine they felt as nauseated by that,as many Rabbi's felt about Judenrats collaborating with Nazi occupiers?Nadaf must have forgotten that Zionism's occupation of the Holy Land,not only literally offends Islam,but also Christianity and slaps all prophets,of all faiths,right in the face.Zionism's occupation of the pluralistic Holy Land,to me,is like crucifying Jesus all over again!

6 ) Leyla Ba'bish / CANADA
10/05/2014 02:16
No priest can serve two masters. If Christ is the Prince of Peace, Nadaf violates Christ if he encourages joining a military that exists to torment and disenfranchise children, women and unarmed civilians. No sincere man of the cloth could do so. Nadaf should be publicly disrobed of priestly status. He is a disgrace to the whole of Christianity, especially to abused civilians.

7 ) Robby / USA
10/05/2014 05:58
3 ) Colin Wright / USA - I don't understand your analogy. Why are people (including westerners) so afraid of Israeli Arab's making a decision for themselves? Or are you so bigoted as to thing the aren't smart enough?

8 ) Rami / Palestine
10/05/2014 06:35
#2 It's not wrong. The priest's job is to be a preacher of faith, not to be a preacher of politics. He should not make statements nor take a stand on anything related to government and politics. He was acting out of order and in contrary to his role as a representative of the Greek Orthodox Church.

9 ) Jessica / Canada
10/05/2014 07:13
Church acted properly , Palestinians should not enlist in the occupying army , it's called switching sides

10 ) Colin Wright / USA
10/05/2014 08:36
To Outlier #2: 'The Greek Orthodox Church is wrong to take this action.' ...which goes to show that if a Zionist says it's wrong, then it's right.

11 ) Outlier / USA
10/05/2014 18:43
10., Colin, each person makes up his or her mind. You should try it.

12 ) Outlier / USA
10/05/2014 18:50
10., Colin, and while on the subject of making up one's own mind, that is what each Greek Orthodox priest and each Greek Orthodox individual should do regarding voluntary military service, without pressure from a group or organization.

13 ) Leyla Ba'bish / Canada
10/05/2014 19:59
@Outlier - When he is wearing the sacred robes of the Church of peace, no individual has the right to promote his personal policies. Even in businesses and corporations an individual when clearly a representative of the corporation cannot promote a policy contrary to the clearly understood principles of the corporation. The church exists to promote peace not war and especially not taking up arms in acts of self-serving treason. I've signed legal docs not to violate a business' image or rules.

14 ) Mr. E / U.S.
10/05/2014 21:24
The ex-priest can join the I.D.F. if he can be accepted there and nobody is stopping him from loving anybody he pleases particularly Jesus,But serving two masters is ill advised And I have no doubt anyone will allow him to be a Jew and never a Rabbi, even if it were his last wish.Though he probably wouldn't want to occupy such a position do you think?

15 ) Heather Glenn / Scotland
11/05/2014 01:05
The (ex) priest clearly feels an affinity to Israel, considering himself a good citizen of the 'Jewish State', although as a Christian he must know he cannot truly be accepted as a 'full citizen'. Maybe he does have aspirations to swop roles, although more likely a misguided sense of loyalty.

16 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/05/2014 03:04
To Outlier #12: '10., Colin, each person makes up his or her mind. You should try it.' Considering that I started out forty years ago unthinkingly supporting Israel, that's pretty funny. I made up my own mind alright. That's what you object to.

17 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/05/2014 03:07
To Robby #7: '3 ) Colin Wright / USA - I don't understand your analogy. Why are people (including westerners) so afraid of Israeli Arab's making a decision for themselves? ' He can make up his own mind alright -- just as a Polish priest in 1940 Poland could have advocated serving the Germans. Of course, the Church would be right to expel him, and the partisans to kill him. They can make up their own minds, too.

18 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/05/2014 03:11
Anyway, if the Zionists are seriously hoping to set the Christians against the Muslims, it's kind of a pity they didn't think ahead when they reduced the proportion of Christians in Palestine from one in twelve to one in fifty -- the Christians are no longer demographically significant. At this point, it's purely a propaganda ploy. Disgusting enough even that way -- but it could be worse.

19 ) Robby / USA
11/05/2014 18:20
17 ) Colin Wright / USA - So you fear that if an Israeli Arab joins the IDF, despite whatever their personal reasons (integration, opportunities, etc), they will be killed by their own people?

20 ) Leyla Ba'bish / Canada
11/05/2014 21:02
Nadaf is so presumptuous as to think he's entitled to receive formal notice in writing by the Greek Orthodox Church before being publicly fired. Did Nadaf send a formal letter to the Church advising them of his intent to go public and encourage murder and treason among the church flock? Nadaf fails to follow protocol yet presumes he's entitled to be treated with respectful protocol that he himself disdained. He's found a good fit with Zionists.

21 ) Leyla Ba'bish / Canada
11/05/2014 21:05
A sucker is born every minute, and Nadaf is only one of two latest toadies to be exploited by Zionists. The other is the airhead bimbo Christy Anastas who's seized her 15 minutes of fame and regurgitates Zionist slogans like a puppet. Instead, Anastas will endure a lifetime of infamy for Zionists will throw her aside when she's outlived her brief utility as Zionists always do when they're done using their dupes.
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