Monday, June 27, 2005

Our Palestinian cousins

Last week, we featured the Jewish settler who converted to Islam and went to live in a Palestinian neighborhood of Hebron. Now we have his polar opposite:
A Palestinian youth who converted to Judaism reportedly enlisted in the Israeli military. Amnon Yitzhak-Shachar, who was born Ayman Abu-Zubuch in the Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, reported to Israel's main draft office last week and was mobilized, Ma'ariv said Sunday. According to the newspaper, Yitzhak-Shachar would not mind serving in a combat unit and fight his former compatriots in Gaza.
The Palestinian Israeli became interested in Judaism as a teenager, when he accompanied his father to work in Kfar Saba. He said his parents banished him from Khan Younis after his conversion, and that he chose his new first name, Amnon, after the surname of the Israeli family that adopted him.
The truth is that there are more family connections with our Palestinian cousins than one might initially imagine. There are quite a number of Jewish women who, for various reasons have converted to Islam and gone to live in the territories with partners, and Palestinian men who've married Jewish women in Israel (somehow I think it doesn't happen as often the other way). At the beginning of the second Intifadah, an American-born, Kippa-wearing friend of mine who lives in Jerusalem once told me he was very nervous whenever he was called up to miluim because a cousin of his mother's had converted to Islam and gone to live in one of the major West Bank cities. He didn't want to find himself in a situation where he'd be fighting against his real second cousins.

(Via Israellycool)

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