Israel’s Christian Arabs

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( — July 30, 2014) Haymarket, VIrginia — Until only recently the Israelis have kept the Christian Arabs at arm’s length, but that may no longer be wise.  A war to the death has been initiated against Israel by Muslim groups like ISIS, Hamas and Iran, and it is clear that Israel can only expect meager help and lip service from the U.S., NATO and the United Nations.

With the exception of the Kurds who mostly live in northern Iraq and who are determined to one day gain their independence from the other Islamic nations; Muslims are by nature tribal and have little sense of nationhood. They tend to gravitate toward whichever tribe is most successful in brutalizing and terrorizing the other tribes.

Though the Kurds are Sunni Muslims, ethnically they are different from Sunni and Shiite Arabs. All three of these groups: Sunni Arabs, Shi’a Arabs, and Sunni Kurds fear and hate each other, and are advancing their own agendas. The Jews and Christian Arabs have more interests in common than do other middle-eastern ethnic groups.

Egypt’s Arab Spring has brought home to the Christian Arabs, with great force, that as far as the Palestinians, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, ISIS and other extremist Islamic groups are concerned, they hate Christian Arabs almost as much as they hate Jews. As a result Christian Arabs, who more closely resemble Israelis than Muslims in their cultural life style and educational accomplishments, have stated their desire to draw closer to Israeli society, including a few hundred of them volunteering to serve in the Israeli Defense Force, even though there is a possibility of Palestinian reprisals against those who do.

For Muslim Palestinians such enlistments are anathema. But for the Arab Christians who are hated by other Muslims, it may be their only way of survival since because of their Christianity they are now being hunted down and murdered throughout the Muslim world.

It is clear that the Israelis need more help than they are getting from the United States. So now would be a most propitious time for Israel to initiate a full scale program to woo Arab Christians, though they are only the tiniest of groups, to their side. This strategy is essentially one of divide-and-rule, but for Christian Arabs that is much preferable to one of don’t divide and die.  Muslims say this is nonsense; but the facts don’t support them.

For example, Coptic churches and congregations all over Egypt are being attacked and destroyed and Arab Christians murdered. Throughout the middle-east, especially in Iraq and Syria, Christian congregations are being bombed and Muslim governments are doing nothing to protect them. Instead, they encourage and support the adoption and enforcement of Sharia Law, and the systematic purge of Christian Arabs who are given the choice of fleeing the countries they have lived in for nearly two thousand years with only the clothes on their backs, or of facing execution and extinction.

This violent persecution of Christian Arabs by Muslims is a crime against humanity, one that the US, NATO, and the UN should find reprehensible and do all in their power to prevent. Any nation that insists on allowing this genocide should be expelled from the UN’s ranks. To have the freedom to practice one’s faith and religious beliefs is a fundamental right that all peoples and cultures should be able to enjoy under the auspices and protection of the UN.

ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremist organizations are trying to purge all signs of Christianity from the Middle-East, even though Christian Arabs have lived in countries like Iraq, Iran and Egypt for nearly two thousand years, where they have freely practiced their Christian religion. But history has little meaning to Muslims who consider Arab Christianity an intolerant ideology which they intend to totally eradicate.

Supposedly there is such a thing as moderate Muslims who can be relied upon to stand up for their Christian Arab brothers. But since these so-called moderates don’t oppose the actions and pronouncements of radical Muslims, their moderation is irrelevant. Beliefs without implementing actions are empty tokens. So, for most practical purposes, all Muslims are radical.

More and more it is becoming clear that Islam and democracy are not and can never be compatible. For example, Iraq’s latest constitution says that, “Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation: No laws can be passed that contradict the undisputed rule of Islam.” So in case of conflict between the secular and religious, the religious side wins. However, Christian Arabs believe just the opposite. Like the Jews in Israel, they believe that secular government should prevail. Where Arab nationalism and secular culture exist in the Middle-East, they owe their existence to the presence of Christian Arabs.

Unfortunately Israel has done little to make its Christian Arab population feel wanted, or to feel that the state of Israel is their homeland. For their part, some Christian Arabs are trying to become a part of the Jewish state. And some have even volunteered to serve in the Israeli Defense Force, though this is a death warrant pitting them against their radical Muslim relatives.

Christian Arabs have been the most reliable and trustworthy of Israel’s Arab neighbors though the Israelis have in many ways been indifferent toward them and have cavalierly brushed their overtures aside. It is past time for the Israelis to bury their pride, or whatever else is bothering them, and start to seriously cultivate the good will of their Christian Arab neighbors.



About Jerry R Curry

I am a retired Major General having enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Private to fight in the Korean War who worked his way up through the enlisted and officer ranks. I was Military Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Carter Administration, Acting Press Secretary to the Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration, and Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety in the Bush senior Administration. I am the recipient of too many awards and decorations to list, including the “Secret Service Honor Award.”

Jerry R Curry

P.O. Box 407
Haymarket, VIrginia United States 20168