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Friday, November 3, 2017

Seniors Hear From Representatives of Israel's Minority Communities

On Friday October 27, Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School students and faculty had the honor of hearing from three men representing the Druze, Lebanese Christian and Muslim Bedouin minority communities in Israel. All of these men served in the Israel Defense Forces and speak to counter the the ‘fake news’ circulating about their peoples. Students Supporting Israel (SSI) and Reservists on Duty sponsor their visit to the U.S.

The first speaker was Mohammad Kabiya, a Muslim Israeli Bedouin who served in the Israeli Air Force. He explained to us that Bedouins feel they are an integral part of Israel and its society and noted that the Bedouin were the first minority in Israel to join the IDF. After Kabiya served finished his three years of military service, he attended the University of Haifa. While some protested his admission, he said that once they were in the classroom together it was peaceful. He ended with a wonderful message that you should never be afraid to say you’re Jewish and support Israel everywhere.

The next speaker was Jonathan Nizar Elkhoury, an Israeli Lebanese Christian. His father served with the Southern Lebanon Army that helped Israel fight the Second Lebanon War from the inside. Since the Christians in Lebanon were being persecuted by the Hezbollah, his family moved to Israel to establish a better, more accepted life there. He was recruited for the IDF when he was 17. Elkhoury did his National Service in hospitals because he couldn’t get into an elite unit. He helped encourage other Christians to join the IDF and fight for the country that protects them.

The last speaker was Ram Asad, a Druze Israeli. The Druze were victimized everywhere until they got to Israel. Now they work in harmony with the Israeli government and have representation in the Israeli court along with other minorities. In 1956, the Druze were permitted to join the IDF; many are part of border control units. Asad proudly told us that he was a combat soldier. He also said that we should never hide that we are Jewish.

The panel presentation was very inspiring. The speakers helped assure the seniors in Flatbush that there are other people, aside from Jews, who believe that Israel is a positive moral county with every right to be a state.
~Victoria Haddad, Class of 2018