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July 20, 2015 5:14 pm

Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

avatar by David Daoud

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Jackie Gosh (pictured above), an Israeli Circassian Muslim, takes pride in fighting under his country's flag. PHOTO: Walla News.

Jackie Gosh (pictured above), an Israeli Circassian Muslim, takes pride in fighting under his country’s flag. PHOTO: Walla News.

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.



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  • Bertil Creson

    How ugly of the editor to present him as Jackie “the Punishment”. Does he not Have a name???

    If Jackie “the Punishment” is proud of Israel, I am sure he is also proud of his name…

    • wsg

      Bertil – the editor didn’t make up the name. As is known to fight fans, nasty “middle” names, used affectionately or admirably to denote how fierce the fighter is, is commonplace and in no way disparaging.

    • Joseph Feld

      His name is Jackie Ghosh.The article mentions his name quite a few times.

  • Frank Adam

    This again highlights the question of what is it to be an Arab? Circassians are not Arabs and Arabs are not uniformly Sunni Moslems nor even Moslems historically.
    A lot of people have raised the who is a Jew? – or behind that who is a rabbi? questions; but built into the PLO Charter and occasionally into interviews or discussions of the Arab case in Palestine is the question of what is an Arab? – as distinct from an Arabic speaker. Arafat and his generation thought that the Jews of Arab countries were Arabs who happened to be Jewish but then screwed up kicking the Jews of Arab countries out of tribalist revenge and were too crass to even ask why they then opted out and presumed they would not mind an Arab take over. Arab apologists eventually were reduced to an impressionistic explanation of experiencing and living in Arabic and Arab historical experience.

  • Arnest. Mekvan PhD

    If the people of America have little knowledge of America’s modern history especially of the American Presidents, it has been observed that they all have committed grave geopolitical mistake that the world is still suffering from that error. Understand that both Sunni and Shia live peacefully in Israel.And they fight against any tyranny from outside Israel.This article is the proof of such example.

  • Dalya Horowitz

    Good for you – you show that it’s possible to thrive in Israel as an observant Muslim. Thank you for your service in the IDF and the best of luck to you.

  • Paula Goldman

    I am so pleased to read about your success Jackie. Your support for the State of Israel is warmly welcomed.

    May you win your bouts over and over. Great, good luck!!

  • M. Otero

    The Arab village of Abu Ghosh is minutes away from the notorious Deir Yassin. Abu Gosh chose wisely and shares both Jewish and Muslim religious observances and to a degree that accelerates mutual understanding that is a rare exemplar of how it could have all turned out. 1948 hysteria and abundant lying have made resolution of differences nearly impossible.

  • Zal Lackow

    Thank you Jackie!
    probably not many in israel know about you, but whoever knows, we all are proud of you and of all Cerkassian community, our friends and brothers.

  • sidney sands

    Well done Jackie, it must take a lot of courage to do what you do in your sport, and in your support of Israel, it gives me some hope for the future.

  • dante

    Jackie is proud to represent Israel and Israel and friends of Israel can be proud of him and wish him well. it takes a lot of courage to compete in extreme sports. and, it takes a different kind of courage, a lot of it, and intelligence to know that Israel is a great country.

    one doesn’t get perfection in this life. that’s not the choice that one gets. if one is lucky, one get something good and something that can, with one’s effort, be improved. but it takes uncommon discernment to know that and it takes courage to say so. Jackie has that discernment and that courage.