Beacon of hope: Israel, the only country in Middle East where Christians live in peace and security

Orthodox Christian worshippers hold crosses as they take part in the Eastern and Orthodox Church's Good Friday procession along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem's Old City.Reuters

Islamic radicals have been persecuting, driving out and even slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Christians in the Middle East.

But there is one country in the region that stands as the only safe haven and beacon of hope for Christians. That country is Israel, CBN News reports.

In fact, Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christianity is on the rise, according to Father Gabriel Naddaf, an Israeli and a Israeli Greek Orthodox priest.

Speaking at the 11th annual Christians United for Israel conference in Washington D.C., last week, Naddaf pointed out that Christianity is on the wane in most parts of the region amid the continuing conflict, bloodshed and Muslim persecution.

However, there is hope, Naddaf said.

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"Today, there is just one country in the Middle East where Christians live in peace and security. In Israel, they have freedom of speech and religion, they can exercise their faith freely, and they have democratic rights," he said.

Naddaf called on Christians in the United States to stand more firmly with Israel and support its cause.

"Israel is something we need to protect," Naddaf said. "We need to protect its freedom, we have to protect the cradle of Christianity."

An Israeli Arab, Naddaf said he and many other Christian Arabs love Israel even though it has a predominantly Jewish population. He said the same Muslim terrorists who are hunting down and murdering Christians also want to destroy the Jewish state.

Although a priest who is supposed to limit himself to performing religious duties, Naddaf is doing something more out of his love for his country: He is actively working to enlist Israeli Arabs in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), according to CBN News.

So far, his efforts have resulted in more than 100 Christian Arabs from his Nazareth hometown committing to protect the only Middle Eastern country that protects their right to believe in Christ even if they have to sacrifice their own lives.

For what he is doing, Naddaf is facing threats to his life and those of his family members. Despite this, he has committed himself "to protecting the Jewish state one soldier at a time," CBN News says.

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