Friday, January 20, 2017

Latest on the Aramean nation in Israel

MODERN ARAMAIC WATCH: Resurrecting a languishing language and culture (Brooke Conrad, The Hillsdale Collegian).
On Wednesday, the Israeli Knesset passed a bill allowing Aramaic Christians to register for free as their own ethnicity in Israel.

Previously, Aramaic Christians had to pay a cumbersome $400 to register in the Israeli state. But now, according to Shadi Khalloul, the founder of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association, this bill not only makes it much easier for Aramaic Christians to register, but also will help the state of Israel to recognize the Aramaic Christian community as separate from their Arabic Muslim neighbors.

Khalloul belongs to a group of about 10,000 Maronite Christians who live in Israel. The Maronite Church dates back to A.D. 350 and was set apart largely because its members continued to speak Aramaic, which many believe to be the language of Jesus.

The official recognition of an Aramean nation by Israel in 2014 was noted here and here. Follow the links in the second post for more details about the constituent groups of this Aramean nation. For more on the Maronites specifically, see here and links.