Arab Christians from northern Israel who are tired of being lumped in with other Arabs who are antagonistic toward the Jewish state have launched a new political party that aims to make a positive contribution to the Jewish state.
Under the banner "Sons of the New Covenant - the Israeli Christian Party," the faction hopes to take part in future Knesset elections. [Ed. Note - In Hebrew the name of the party is Brit Hahadashah, the Hebrew translation of New Testament]
In an interview with Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom, party founder Bishara Shlayan said that after encountering difficulties in helping his son and nephew join the Israeli army, he and other like-minded Christians established a forum to encourage Christian enlistment in the IDF.
That forum has significantly boosted the number of young local Christians joining the IDF over the past year, and resulted in the Israeli army appointing a dedicated coordinator for the Arab Christian sector.
But Shlayan knew they had to go a step further.
"We saw that we have to establish a political party, so we advertised in local Arab newspapers and the initiative took off [attracting] Christians who recognize that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews," Shlayan explained to the newspaper.
He lamented that for 65 years the Christian community has allowed anti-Israel Arab parties to represent it in the Knesset, noting that these parties are working for a Muslim agenda that holds no benefit for the Christians.
Shlayan insisted that even if one does not agree with every political decision, "a man belongs to his state. This is integrity. You must be a true citizen...and the first requirement [of a citizen] of Israel, and I support this, is the need to understand that this is the land of the Jewish people."