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Israel: bishops oppose recruiting Christians for Israeli military

July 09, 2013

The Catholic bishops of the Holy Land have expressed serious misgivings about efforts to recruit Palestinian Christians into the Israeli military. The Assembly of Ordinary Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land issued a document noting that the Israeli army serves the government’s goal of “promoting Israel as a Jewish national state.” Enlisting Christians in that effort is particularly problematic, the statement says, because “talk about drafting of Christian Arabs rather than the Arabs in general - Muslims and Christians - is clearly an attempt to drive a wedge between Christians and Muslims in Israel.”

The statement—issued by the bishops’ justice-and-peace commission, chaired by retired Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem—charges that the army serves to continue the occupation of the Palestinian territories, and is “an army of aggression rather than an army of defense.”


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  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Jul. 10, 2013 12:17 AM ET USA

    This is nonsense. How many Muslims do the bishops think would actually want to join the Israeli military--besides those who would join in order to subvert or sabotage? And where else in the Middle East would the bishops be allowed to utter such criticisms without promptly being escorted to the border? The wedge between Christians and Muslims in Israel already exists, but Palestinian Christians might actually act as a bridge of communications, and defuse some volatile situations.

  • Posted by: Defender - Jul. 09, 2013 5:46 PM ET USA

    It doesn't seem to matter that the "occupation of the Palestinian territories" was due to Arab invasion attempts and that the Israeli Army is “an army of aggression rather than an army of defense” because the Muslim militants continue to launch rockets, conduct indiscriminate bombings, etc. Just as we in this country need to think of ourselves as Catholic Americans, they need to think like Catholic Arabs.