For some reason, the international media is entirely uninterested in reporting about how some Israeli Muslims — Arabs and Druze — have rallied to help defend their country against Hamas. Bassam Tawil has more on this subject here: “‘Like…wtf’: Israel’s Arab Citizens Feel Lucky,” by Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute,
IDF Sergeant First Class (reserve) Ahmed Abu Latif, 26, a husband and father to a one-year-old baby, was killed on January 22 during the fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Abu Latif, a Muslim citizen of Israel, embodied the spirit of unity and patriotism in Israel in the aftermath of Hamas’s October 7 massacre of Israelis. He also represented a shining example of coexistence and unwavering love for Israel.
In a message on Facebook at the beginning of the war, Abu Latif, who was working as a security guard at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, wrote:
“As a Bedouin-Israeli, serving in the IDF Bedouin Gadsar (Desert Reconnaissance Battalion) was an honor that revealed my strengths and introduced me to lifelong friends. I love connecting with people and bridging cultures, whether it’s hosting friends for a meal or visiting friends from Kibbutz Shovel and playing guitar songs by Yehudit Ravitz.
“On October 9 at 8:00 PM, accompanied by my brother-in-law, I embarked on a mission to distribute food to soldiers. En route, our attention was drawn to a police car, and simultaneously, we received alarming messages about terrorists infiltrating the Mishmar Hanegev area near Rahat. As armed and professional security guards, we immediately joined the police forces, assisting in the search for the terrorists. The adrenaline-fueled mission was both intense and fulfilling, highlighting the importance of safeguarding our home. Thankfully, the terrorists were swiftly located and dealt with by the police.
“In the backdrop of the ongoing war, we often hear about the involvement of Arab citizens. It’s disheartening to know that among the fallen heroes are Bedouin and Druze soldiers, Muslims, and Christians who courageously defended our country. The Bedouin community mourns all civilian victims, regardless of their background—Jews, Christians, or Muslims. This brings me to a crucial point: we all share the same destiny, and our strength lies in unity. Unfortunately, there are those who seek to undermine cooperation between different sectors, sowing seeds of mistrust. I urge you not to be swayed by such attempts and to stand strong in our shared commitment to unity.”…
Two days after the massacre, Israeli Arab blogger Nuseir Yassin, popularly known as “Nas Daily,” posted the following on X (formerly Twitter):
“For the longest time, I struggled with my identity. A Palestinian kid born inside Israel. Like…wtf. Many of my friends refuse to this day to say the word ‘Israel’ and call themselves ‘Palestinian’ only. But since I was 12, that did not make sense to me. So, I decided to mix the two and become a ‘Palestinian-Israeli.’ I thought this term reflected who I was. Palestinian first. Israeli second. But after recent events, I started to think. And think. And think. And then my thoughts turned to anger. I realized that if Israel were to be ‘invaded’ like that again, we would not be safe. To a terrorist invading Israel, all citizens are targets…. And I do not want to live under a Palestinian government. Which means I only have one home, even if I’m not Jewish: Israel…”
The atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 — among the victims were also some Israeli Arabs — have pushed some Israeli Arabs who previously self-identified as “Palestinian-Israelis” to instead identify more closely with the Jewish state, declaring themselves to be “Israeli Arabs” or, as in the case of this popular blogger, Nuseir Yassin, shedding the modifier altogether, and now call themselves “Israelis.”
The Hamas atrocities did not drive a wedge between Jewish and Arab Israelis, as Yahya Sinwar may have hoped. Instead, the events of October 7 led to greater identification by Israeli Arabs and Druze with the Jewish state. Three-quarters of Israeli Arabs reported having “good relations” with Jews; almost as many — 70% — identify with the Jewish state, and far from wishing for its disappearance, recognize how lucky they are to be citizens of the only decently run government in the Middle East.
In Israel, Arab soldiers, both Muslim and Druze, have been fighting against the Hamas terrorists; some have been killed in Gaza, defending the Jewish state. Others were killed in Israel by Hamas on October 7; some Arabs, especially Bedouin, were taken hostage on that day. Druze have a long history of joining the IDF; the highest-ranking IDF officer who has been killed in this war was a Druze, Lt. Col. Salman Habaka. Another Druze casualty was Major Jamal Abbas, whose father and grandfather had both served in the IDF. Another Druze who answered the call on October 7 was a woman, Nisreen Yousef, who immediately volunteered to interrogate captured Hamas terrorists to discover where others were hiding; she passed on the information to the IDF, that promptly located and captured them.
The stories of these Muslims who volunteered to defend the Jewish state, and some who died in that struggle, should be more widely known. They undermine all the stories about Israel as an “apartheid state,” where Muslims are supposedly oppressed. These Arab and Druze volunteers for the IDF know otherwise; they are fighting for what they know is “their” country.
The stories about the Israeli Arabs whose rise to the summit of their professions also fatally vitiate the claims that Israel is an “apartheid” state. These stories need to be told. There is Samer Haj Yehia, the Chairman of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi. And Judge Khaled Kabub, who in 2022 became the first Muslim, though not the first Arab, Justice on Israel’s Supreme Court. Jewish and Arab physicians work side by side in Israeli hospitals. Arab and Druze women have risen high in the medical profession and in academia. Prof. Mouna Maroun, Vice President and Dean of Research at University of Haifa and the former Head of the Sagol Department of Neurobiology, is the first Arab woman to hold a senior faculty position in natural sciences. Another is Prof. Mona Khoury-Kassabri, who in 2021 been elected Vice President of Strategy and Diversity at the university. It was the first time that a member of the Arab community was appointed to a senior position of vice president. “I am deeply honored to be the first Arab to serve as a Hebrew University Vice President,” Khoury-Kassabri said. 43% of Israelis who have just become doctors are now Arabs and Druze, a staggering statistic, given that Arabs and Druze are only 20% of the population. Compare that fact with the way Palestinians in most Arab states are prohibited from practicing certain professions, including engineering, law, and medicine.
Perhaps someone in the media will devout a program, full of human interest, to the Arab and Druze in Israel, some of whom have given their lives for the Jewish state. Others were victims of Hamas terrorists on October 7. And the program should explain the fact — never mentioned in the mainstream media — that 70% of Israeli Arabs now say they identify with the Jewish state as their country too, a place where they receive equal treatment before the law and where it is possible for Arabs to rise high in Israeli society — in law, banking, and especially, medicine. That might startle some of those mindlessly chanting about “apartheid” Israel, if not to change their chant, at least to keep quiet.