JNS.org –The leader of the new Israeli Arab Christian party believes that the latest efforts by the European Union (EU) to boycott Israeli businesses and institutions in communities located beyond the pre-1967 lines is a mistake and will also harm Arab businesses.
“The boycott is a big mistake—it (the Israeli territory beyond the pre-1967 lines) is the livelihood for many, mainly Arabs in the West Bank,” Bishara Shlayan told the Jerusalem Post.
In July, the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, issued the new guidelines to EU member states for giving grants, awards or loans to Israeli entities operating beyond the pre-1967 lines. The EU is also looking to separately label goods from beyond the pre-1967 lines. Shlayan believes Israel should build more universities and businesses in Judea and Samaria because that activity leads to employment for Arabs living there.
Shlayan also wants to build a statue of Jesus in Nazareth, both Shlayan’s hometown and the traditional boyhood home of Jesus, according to Christian scriptures. He wants the statue to be like the famous “Christ the Redeemer” statue in Rio de Janeiro, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and the only one that protects Christians and holy places,” Shlayan said.
Shlayan made headlines last month with the announcement of the creation of his new Arab Christian political party. The party, which is still being organized, is seeking to help Israeli Arab Christians forge their own identity, apart from Arab Muslims. The announcement of the party’s formation came amid the backdrop of tension within Israel’s Arab community over enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It was recently revealed that Arab Christian enlistment in the IDF has tripled over the past year.