In the wake of the harrowing October 7th attacks by Hamas, a poignant truth has emerged: the indiscriminate brutality of terrorism knows no bounds of religion or ethnicity. The recent Hamas-led massacre, which resulted in the loss of over 1,200 lives and the abduction of 240 individuals, tragically united both Jews and Muslims in Israel in a common narrative of suffering and loss.
Among the victims were scores of Muslim citizens of Israel, including young Aisha al-Ziadna, only 16 years old. These attacks were a harrowing reminder that the terrorists’ rampage made no distinction between young and old, Muslim and Jew. Their actions spoke louder than any propaganda, revealing a disregard for human life that transcends all religious and cultural lines.
The story of Awad Darawshe, a 23-year-old Arab-Israeli paramedic, stands out in stark relief. His tragic fate – murdered while trying to administer aid – underlines the baseless cruelty of the Hamas terrorists, who showed no mercy even to a fellow Muslim Arab. Similarly, the deaths of Abed al-Rahman Alnasasrah and Fatima Altallaqat, both from the Bedouin community, further illustrate the indiscriminate nature of these attacks.
These events have caused many to reflect on the quality of life of Arab Israelis. Interviews conducted before the October 7th attacks showed a general sense of equality and opportunity among the Arab population in Israel. A young woman wearing a hijab and a middle-aged man both expressed satisfaction with their lives in Israel, pointing out the freedoms and rights they enjoy.
This reality is sharply contrasted with the reign of terror imposed by Hamas in Gaza. The tragic events of October 7th have not only exposed the true face of Hamas but also strengthened the bond between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. The story of Nuseir Yassin, a popular video blogger, is a case in point. His realization that to terrorists, all citizens are targets, led him to openly embrace his Israeli identity.
In the aftermath of this national tragedy, numerous stories of inter-communal generosity and heroism have emerged, fostering hope for a more peaceful future. Families of victims, regardless of their background, have expressed pride in their loved ones’ humanity and courage. The outpouring of support for Ali Alziadna, whose family members are among the hostages, from people across Israel, highlights the unity and strength of the nation.
This tragic episode also serves as a reminder of the role of Arab Israelis in the fabric of Israeli society. Many serve in the IDF and police force, contribute to medical innovations, and are on the front lines of saving lives.
The events of October 7th have inadvertently highlighted the stark differences in governance and values between Israel and Hamas. While Israel strives for a society based on equality, democracy, and respect for human rights, Hamas’s actions betray a complete disregard for these principles. The Palestinian people in Gaza must recognize this stark reality if they aspire to a future of prosperity and peace.
As Israel continues to navigate the challenges posed by external threats, it does so with a renewed sense of unity and shared purpose among all its citizens, Jewish and Arab alike. The State of Israel remains committed to safeguarding the rights and freedoms of all its inhabitants, upholding the values of democracy and human dignity. This commitment is the bedrock of its strength and resilience, now more than ever.