Against the Grain: Mohammad Zoabi Talks About His Love for Israel and the Jewish People
I met Mohammad, a 15 year-old teenager living in Nazareth Ilite through our mutual friend; yet another Arab pro-Israel activist, Anett Haskia. Mohammad struck me as a young intellectual; someone with the knowledge and understanding that so many people twice and three times his age are lacking.
Mohammad comes from a traditional Arab home where he’s had to deal with his share anti-Israeli propaganda. Mohammad has overcome overwhelming odds in order to become a voice of common sense and freedom in his community. He awaits the day when true peace: the kind of peace that he and I are creating by being there for one another and not the peace of short-sighted withdrawals and capitulating to terrorists will become a reality.
The following is an interview I conducted with Mohammad:
Me: Please tell me a little about yourself: Where do you live? What do you do? What are some of your hobbies? Passions in life?
Mohammad: My name is Mohammad Zoabi. I’m 15 years old. I was born to a Muslim Israeli family from Nazareth. I’m currently studying in high school (10th grade). I have a brother who’s almost 20. He lives with my dad (my parents have been divorced since about 10 years ago and I live with my mom and step dad). I’m very interested in politics but my opinions are very different from my family’s (father’s side) and they don’t support my positions one bit. Moreover, they constantly try to convince me to change my views.
My mom and her family are a different story. They support me very much—especially my mom. If she hadn’t raised me like that, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. My relationship with my dad and his family is extremely exhausting and I realize it’ll probably only get worse. It’s kind of like the Israel-Iran conflict today
I’m seriously considering serving in the IDF and I’ll need a lot of support to overcome the problems that my father’s family will create for me if I do so
I enjoy swimming, reading, etc. and my passion is proving to the world that our country is totally democratic: something that most of the Middle East lacks.
Me: Why do you support Israel?
Mohammad: I support Israel and I always will because very simply Israel is my country and I have no other place to call home. Whatever happens to my country, it affects me, my family, friends and the rest of the world no matter if they are Jews or Arabs!
I don’t support Israel just because of the benefits that I get like health care, a high standard of living, the local democracy, etc. I support it because it’s my country.
I also want to say something to all these Israeli Arabs that have betrayed their country because they claim that it’s not democratic. I just want to remind them that the US had black slaves prior to the Civil War. These slaves had no rights; not even the simplest ones but they were still loyal to their country and eventually succeeded in gaining their freedom. And look at them today: now there’s a black president!
I’m not saying that we (Israeli Arabs) are not equal citizens or slaves God forbid, but what I am saying, especially to Arab MKs (i.e. Haneen Zoabi) is: STOP YOUR GAMES BECAUSE WE ARE SICK OF THEM! We are NOT “Palestinians,” so if u want to represent the Palestinians, feel free to go to the so-called “Palestinian State Parliament,” and we will see how you will be treated there as a woman!
Me: Do you find your Arab friends questioning your beliefs a lot of times?
Mohammad: Absolutely yes. Some of them have also attacked me by yelling, swearing at me, etc. They’ll say, “How can you support this country while it kills Arabs!?” Most of the time, I don’t explain anything to them, but just tell them to stay away from me. I don’t talk to them because I’m confident of my beliefs, and know that any mature person will have the same feelings towards his country as I do. I also realize that no matter how much I keep explaining things to them, they will always be against me.
I have been attacked physically several times. For example, once when I was in Junior High, there was some kind of training for the army next to our school building, and suddenly some students started throwing rocks at the soldiers. I noticed what they were doing, and, not thinking twice about it, ran toward them and started yelling at them to stop. A lot of them started throwing rocks at me instead of the soldiers. They began pushing, punching, and kicking me. I immediately went to principal and asked him to do something. Not about what they’d done to me, but about what was done to OUR soldiers that were training to protect US!
He went down and called the other teachers and a lot of the students were sent home for several days. Some of the others were punished at school, while there were those that apologized to me, but that’s not what I wanted. I wanted them to apologize to the soldiers themselves, but that didn’t happen. Since that day, I’ve lost a lot of my friends, but I don’t think they were real friends to begin with.
Anyway, I don’t care what others think of me as long as I’m doing what I believe in which is loving my country and the people of Israel.
Me: Tell me about your pro-Israel activism.
Mohammad: I’m very active supporting my country these days on Facebook and other social media platforms. I always post statuses and comments that support my country, and I’m confident that lots of people are happy about that, but, of course, others are not. I’m also trying to get involved in organizations that support our country such as Stand With Us. I plan on being more active in the public forum in the future!
Me: What’s your message to your fellow Arabs?
Mohammad: My message to my fellow Israeli Arabs is:
Love your country, be loyal citizens and appreciate the fact that you live in Israel! Always support your country! Israel is your country, and no other! And whatever happens to Israel, whether good or bad, it affects you!
Don’t listen to the Arab politicians in the Knesset because they say that they represent the Palestinians, while we’re the ones who elected them!
And another message to the Arab MKs like Ahmad Tibi and Haneen Zoabi: If you’re saying that you’re “Palestinian” and want to represent the “Palestinian people,” please go to Gaza, and we’ll see how they will accept you there! Especially Haneen Zoabi…let’s see how they will treat you as a “progressive woman” there!