Police to look into sexual claims against priest Naddaf

Author: Staff
Date Published: 05/09/2016
Publication: The Times of Israel
Father Gabriel Naddaf, right, seen at the Knesset on May 9, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Father Gabriel Naddaf, right, seen at the Knesset on May 9, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Police spokesperson Luba Samri says officials are looking into sexual harassment claims against Father Gabriel Naddaf, a controversial leader of Israel’s Arab Christian community, after accusations surfaced against him Sunday night.

Channel 2 aired recordings and transcripts of conversations allegedly between Naddaf and a series of unidentified young men — including both Israeli soldiers and Palestinians — in which the priest appeared to promise to help them in exchange for sexual favors.

“Some of the claims have reached the police and they will be checked by professionals in the police investigations and intelligence unit as needed,” Samri says.

The police move is not an official probe or investigation, but may lay the groundwork for one.

Naddaf, who heads a group promoting IDF service among Arab Christians, has been named as one of the ceremonial torch lighters at the state’s Independence Day ceremony in Jerusalem next week, has firmly denied the allegations against him.

“The only truth is that I didn’t harm anyone and didn’t take advantage of my position to get benefits from anyone or [give them] to anyone,” he says in response, according to Army Radio. “I will light the torch on Independence Day.”