Two people couldn’t possibly be more different. It is an Israeli irony that they belong to the same family.
There is something about this country that puts things in stark relief, as if preparing a demonstration for very small children (or very stupid grown-ups). You’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind to ignore or misunderstand the lesson. It is as clear as night and day.
It’s a simple really. The problem is that the world doesn’t seem to want to understand…
The measure of a man is the content of his character. Period.
Race, religion or nationality have nothing to do with a person’s intrinsic value. The group a person belongs to does not make them right or wrong, good or bad. It is the actions of the individual that matters. If enough individuals believe in the same ideas, hold the same ideals; that and only that is what gives a group its value.
Muslim, Arab, Israeli, articulate, passionate and very, very stubborn. That is where the similarity ends.
17 years old and very brave, Muhammad Zoabi is a Zionist, proud of the country he was born in and a freedom fighter. A real one. His relative, Hanin Zoabi might think of herself as a freedom fighter however a more accurate description would be – terrorist.
A Member of Knesset, Hanin Zoabi takes advantage of Israel’s democracy to publicly call for the end of Israel as a Jewish state. She constantly spews hatred of the country that gives her the freedom to be a public figure, compares the IDF to ISIS and justifies terrorism against Israeli civilians – including the kidnapping and murder of Gil-Ad Shaer (16 years old), Neftali Frenkel (16 years old) and Eyal Ifrach (19 years old) last summer.
In 2010 Hanin used her diplomatic immunity to take partin the MV Marmara flotilla raid on Gaza. The flotilla was a terrorist attack on IDF soldiers disguised as humanitarian mission.
Hanin Zoabi is using Israeli freedom to fight for the country’s destruction.
Muhammad Zoabi became publicly known after he posted a video on YouTube denouncing the kidnapping of the three teenagers and calling for the terrorists to bring them back home.
With the Israeli flag behind him, speaking equally articulate Hebrew, English and Arabic, Muhammad made his message crystal clear: kidnapping is wrong. Terrorism is wrong. Cooperating with terrorists is wrong. As an Israeli young man Muhammad identified with the school boys close to him in age, boys who simply wanted to go home after school.
Muhammad surprised Jewish Israelis and at the same time, shocked and horrified many Muslims in Israel and around the world by boldly declaring: “Tomorrow it could be me, you or any other Israeli. Our enemies do not differentiate between Jews and Arabs living in Israel. For them we are all Israelis. And you know what? I am proud of that! I am an Israeli and I will remain an Israeli!”
Who knew that speak the truth, denouncing terrorism and speaking out for humanity could be so dangerous? When he made the video, Muhammad certainly did not believe that declaring himself an Israeli, a Zionist, explaining in Hebrew, English and Arabic that the Jewish State of Israel is here to stay would “earn” him death threats.
Death threats. Including from his own family.
Many members of his family disowned Muhammad. Hanin Zoabi said that he has a “twisted mentality”. Although some arrests were made, not enough was done to protect Muhammad and he was forced to go in to hiding. He even left the country for a while.
Muhammad is back and he is posting pictures of himself in the IDF uniform. At 17, in a Jewish high school he, along with the rest of his peers, spent a week simulating what it is like to be in army basic training, “Gadna”.
Muhammad has posted numerous videos speaking for Israel, against terrorism and for decency. He posts on Facebook in English, Hebrew and Arabic. His messages are a bridge between cultures, an example to Jews that not all Muslims are hateful, an example to Muslims that it is possible to be a proud Israeli citizens without renouncing his Arab, Muslim background.
Shut up, sit down did not work on Muhammad. Even with his life at stake. The truth remains the truth, whether people want to hear it or not. And Muhammad? He boldly speaks his truth. Our truth. His truth is the truth of Israel. He exemplifies the glory that is Israel – freedom, boldness, caring for others and just plain decency.
Muhammad has been in the eye of the storm for the last year but the true hero in this story is Sara Zoabi, Muhammad’s mother. Who is this woman that could raise such a son? She is his role model and the person that helped him grow up to be who he is today. She taught him courage and appreciation of Israel. She taught him to be brave when life is hard. That even threats of physical violence, maybe even death threats can be overcome. She taught Muhammad kindness in a harsh world, she taught him to follow his heart and to speak his truth.
Even in a democratic country like Israel, leaping the valley of silence in to the land of free speech, refusing to shut up, sit down is even harder for an Arab, Muslim woman than it is for other people, from other cultures. A religious Muslim, Sara Zoabi is also a Zionist. While Muhammad was in hiding she was physically attacked for her beliefs. For loving, rather than hating Israel. Death threats against her son, attacks on her, did not change her mind.
People should be judged by their actions and by the content of their character.
Hanin Zoabi is a hate-filled terrorist sympathizer and supporter.
Sara Zoabi is a hero.
I have a dream:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character….
….And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech on August 28th, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. When will his dream be our reality?