Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag
A 32-year-old Circassian Israeli Muslim Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Abu Ghosh says he takes pride in fighting under the Israeli flag, Israel’s Walla reported on Sunday.
Like most Circassian Israelis, Jackie “the Punishment” Gosh was born Sunni Muslim. He became observant about eight years ago, and is now scrupulous in following his religion’s tenets, praying five times a day and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
Gosh is also very proud of his Israeli nationality, and sees no contradiction between his Islamic faith and his patriotism, or even participating in certain Jewish religious ceremonies. A video accompanying Walla‘s report on Gosh shows him receiving the traditional Jewish priestly blessing before entering a fight.
When he fights, mostly in Eastern Europe, he always carries an Israeli flag with him.
In fact, for Gosh, winning his fights is very much a matter of Israeli pride. “I love to go around the world and win in these fights so I can put the [Israeli] flag in their face,” he says.
Israel’s Circassians originated in the northern Caucasus, and arrived in pre-state Israel towards the end of the 19th century. Today, the Israeli community numbers approximately 4,000, mainly residing in the villages of Kfar Kama and Rehaniya.
The Circassians are among only three minority groups in Israel who, like the country’s Jewish citizens, are obligated to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, the other two being the Druze and the Bedouins.