(JNS.org) Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Tuesday approved having “Aramean” as a nationality on Israeli identification cards, a move warmly received by Israel’s Aramean-Christian community.
In a letter written to Population Authority Chairman Amnon Ben-Ami, Sa’ar said that after receiving an appeal on the matter, he heard the recommendations of three experts from three different academic institutions, who said the Israeli Supreme Court found that “the Aramean nationality clearly exists, and has the conditions required to prove its existence, including historical heritage, religion, culture, origin and common language.”
Aramean-Christian community leader and IDF Maj. (res.) Shadi Halul called the decision “a historic change for the relations between Christians and Jews in the state of Israel,” according to Israel Hayom. He said the move pulled the rug under the feet of anti-Semites and “those who slander the Jewish people and Israel.”
“It is proof that Israel protects its citizens and the identity of its minorities, unlike all the Arab nations around us,” said Halul.
“All Christians from the 133,000 Christians who live in Israel and belong to one of the Eastern churches can now be listed as a Aramean,” noted Father Gabriel Nadaf, a proponent of Christian enlistment into the Israel Defense Forces as director of the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum.