A group of Israeli Arab Christians led by a Greek Orthodox priest have roiled the Israeli Arab community by distancing themselves from their Arab identity and requesting that Christian Arabs be drafted into the Israeli army to show their support for the Jewish state.
Father Naddaf has been meeting with Israeli authorities and groups of draft-age Christians and their parents for the past year in an effort to ease the way for Christian youths to be drafted into the army as a way of becoming more fully integrated into Israeli society.
Christians constitute just under 10 percent of the 1.5 million Arabs living in Israel who, in turn, make up 20 percent of Israel's total population.
Naddaf's highly controversial initiative—in effect, an attempt to forge a new non-Arab identity for the country’s Christians—has brought him condemnation from both Muslim and Christian leaders in the Arab community, as well as death threats.
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