Nazareth (Agenzia Fides) - The project to build a new city reserved for "Aramaean Christians", motivated also with the intention of guarding the language and their Aramaic culture, has been submitted to the attention of the Israeli government and to Premier Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu. This is what was revealed to a US website by Shadi Khalloul (in the picture), President of the Aramaic Christian Association of Israel and member of the Philos Project, organization of politicians, journalists and Christian intellectuals based in New York, committed to "leading a change in the Middle East". The "Aramaean Christians" are defined by Shadi Khalloul in his speech on The Daily Wire as "natives of Israel and descendants of the first believers in Christ" in that land.
Aramaic is not a dead language, as many university courses in the West repeatedly underline. On hearing that Aramaic was a "dead language", Khalloul believed that his "mission" was to preserve the Aramaic culture and language, also in order to "facilitate" the coexistence between Christians and the Jewish people. The project of a city for Aramaean Christians in Israel is presented by Shadi Khalloul as "something that can strengthen Israel as a Jewish state, showing the world that we Israelis are building and preserving" the Aramean community "as the only Country for Christians persecuted in the Middle East".
"As a minority" explained Shadi Khalloul "we want to live as native Aramaean Christians and to have a single Aramaic city where we can preserve our Christian faith, Aramaic language, ethnic identity, our heritage and better express our common roots with the Jews".
For some time now, the President of the Aramaic Christian Association of Israel presented the project, to the Israeli government, to build the "city of the Arameans" in the north of Israel, which should be called Aram Hiram, with a name that unites the appellative Aram - with which the Aramaic kingdoms in the Bible were referred to - and the reference to King Hiram, who gave King Solomon the wood of the cedars of Lebanon used in the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem. According to Shadi Khalloul, the request and the project to build the city are in the hands of Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu.
In September 2014, as reported by Fides (see Fides 22/9/2014), Israeli Interior Ministry signed a provision to recognize the "Aramean" identity as a distinct national identity, to be added to the register of nationalities present in the Country. This disposition was taken with the declared intention of allowing 200 Christian families to identify themselves as belonging to the ancient nationality, and thus register themselves as "Arameans" rather than as Arabs in their identity documents. The provision of the Israeli government was defined by the Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land as "an attempt to separate Palestinian Christians from the other Palestinians". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 3/9/2018)