Israel to award academic prizes to 40 IDF Christian veterans


For the first time in Israel, academic scholarships will be awarded by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum to 40 Christian youth who served in the army or national service.

“The IFCJ has set as its goal the issue of integrating different minorities into Israeli society, the economy and academia,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the IFCJ. “We believe that every Israeli citizen deserves equal rights and opportunities in all areas of life, while on their part they provide an active share and contribute to Israeli society.”

Eckstein added that he was happy that the IFCJ’s work with the Christian community has seen “more and more young [Christians] are choosing to integrate into society and even serve in the IDF and national service.”

The aim of the scholarship program is to continue to encourage the integration of young members of the Christian community into Israeli society, while reducing gaps and providing opportunities to acquire a higher education.

Father Naddaf of Nazareth with Christian Israeli IDF soldiers at a Christmas party on December 21, 2015. (photo credit:ISRAELI CHRISTIAN RECRUITMENT FORUM)

Father Naddaf of Nazareth with Christian Israeli IDF soldiers at a Christmas party on December 21, 2015. (photo credit:ISRAELI CHRISTIAN RECRUITMENT FORUM)

“I want to thank Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the IFC for supporting the efforts of the  . This is a message to the whole world, that two religious leaders from different religions can lead a change in society where they live and work through cooperation,” said Father Gabriel Naddaf, head of the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum.

Father Naddaf added that full integration into society “does not happen in one day” but was rather a long process which began with the establishment of the Forum four years ago.

“It begins with the youth and continues in enlistment in the IDF or national service and paves the way towards studies in higher education institutions and integration into the workforce. We are there every step of the way in order to encourage, strengthen, and support,” he said.

The scholarships will be presented to the students on Thursday at the Greek Orthodox Church in Yafa an-Naseriyye, an Arab local council near Nazareth.

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