Jordanian Man Named After Yitzhak Rabin Wants to be an IDF Officer
In January 1996, a Muslim baby born in northern Jordan was given the name Yitzhak Rabin. The mother and father, who were supporters of peace with Israel, had wanted to honor the slain Israeli leader’s role in the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty of 1994. It was an unusual move, to say the least, and at the time, the parents’ decision to give their child a Jewish name sparked an unprecedented uproar in Jordan.
The father lost his job and was harassed by family members and neighbors following the name choice. Jordan’s state registrar had told the parents that it was illegal to give the boy a Jewish name, but the Jordanian Ministry of Interior later ruled that it was legal. However, the continuing hostilities forced the family to flee. Yitzhak Rabin Namsy has been living in exile with his family for nearly 16 years – in Israel.
The Atlantic recently ran an article following up on Namsy, today 18, who lives in Eilat with his mother, and is now a religious Jew – keeping the Sabbath and going to synagogue.
“I want to become an officer [in the army] and continue in the path of Yitzhak Rabin, may his memory be blessed,” Namsy said in an interview with the Israeli press. “I want to give back to the state in a way that would make Yitzhak and Leah Rabin proud of me.”
Namsy, who has been living in Eilat most of his life, has adapted to Israeli culture, surrounding himself with Jewish friends and speaking only Hebrew. He has adopted Judaism as his religion and will officially convert in the near future according to the Atlantic report.
His mother, Miriam, who speaks fluent Hebrew wants to share their story with the press. She lives alone with her son in a small apartment in Eilat – her husband still lives in Israel, but left the family a few years ago and maintains little contact. She explains that her family moved to Israel after Leah Rabin, the prime minister’s widow, heard of their plight and arranged for them to emigrate to Israel herself.
Today Namsy wants to enlist in the Israeli army like the rest of his classmates, and has been lobbying for the right to do so. Both he and his mother, Jordanian Bedouins, are listed as temporary residents in Israel. In an interview with Israel’s Yedioth Aharanot last November, Namsy insists that he “doesn’t understand what the problem is here. I have always felt Israeli; even more so with a name like mine.”
Miriam herself noted at the end of the Atlantic article that she has no regrets naming her son after an Israeli prime minister despite all the hardships. “Yitzhak was a prophet for both Jews and Muslims. And Rabin? [Most] Jordanians want peace. So why should I regret it?”
Jordan became the second Arab country, after Egypt, to sign a peace accord with Israel in July 1994. The countries pledged that neither would allow its territories to be used for military strikes against each other and further agreed to broad cooperation on tourism, trade, and other areas, while settling water and land disputes.
The treaty was denounced by the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who at the time was angered by a section of the treaty that recognized Jordan’s historic role as guardian of Islamic shrines in Jerusalem and not the Palestinians. Praising the agreement, King Hussein had stated that it brought “peace with dignity” and was a “gift to our peoples and generations to come.”