‘Know That I Died a Dreamer’ — Arab-Israeli Teen ‘Fearful, Yet Undeterred’ by Threats From Fellow Muslims, Palestinians for Outspoken Zionism (INTERVIEW)
A teenage boy from an Arab village in northern Israel told The Algemeiner on Sunday about the impetus behind a message he wrote describing the sense that he is about to be killed by angry Muslims for being a Zionist.
“I receive regular threats from both Arab Israelis and Palestinians, via social media and by phone,” said Mahdi Satri, 17, a resident of Jadeidi-Makr, east of Acre. “And I’m afraid, but I won’t let those who support terrorism and oppose peace deter me.”
Satri, whose father moved to Israel from Gaza 30 years ago and whose mother is an Arab from a village near Carmiel, explained that his views were shaped by his parents. “My father worked with the IDF and the Shin Bet,” he said. “And I am going to join the Israeli army when I finish my university degree.”
He was referring to the IDF’s Atuda program that enables high school graduates to defer the draft until after college and subsequently serve in a position commensurate with the studies they undertook.
Satri – the eldest of seven children – also told The Algemeiner that he is an activist in the youth movement of the Likud Party, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he supports. This is evident in many photos on his Facebook page, in which he appears with various political figures, among them Temple Mount activist MK Yehuda Glick, who entered the Knesset recently. Glick was the victim of a Palestinian assassination attempt, which involved his being shot at point-blank range.
“The Temple Mount is a holy site for Jews, Muslims and Christians,” Satri said. “The Arab and Muslim world is wrong when it says that it belongs only to Muslims. It is certainly wrong when it says that the Jews are trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Also displayed prominently on Satri’s Facebook page are photos of Elor Azaria, the IDF sergeant on trial for killing a subdued Palestinian terrorist at the end of March. Mere hours before Satri’s interview with The Algemeiner, Azaria testified as the first witness for the defense. Azaria claimed that he shot Abed al Fatah a-Sharif – one of two terrorists who stabbed a soldier at a post near the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron — in the head, because he believed the suspect was hiding explosives in his jacket and therefore still posed a threat.
“He is the brother of all Israelis,” Satri told The Algemeiner, referring to Azaria, who became a controversial figure among a public divided in its view of whether his action was heroic or constituted an illegal field execution.
Satri said that though Zionism was instilled in him at home, his father, who is currently battling cancer, “is afraid” on behalf of his son and family for the openness with which the El-Bairuni High School student expresses his loyalty to Israel, the country of his birth and citizenship.
The teen’s own behavior, he said, is not typical, pointing to three friends in his village who share his outlook, “But are scared to admit it.”
Satri was filmed by Israel-advocacy group StandWithUs sporting a sign — in Hebrew, Arabic and English — reading, “I’m an Arab and I love you. Hug me if you love me back.” In what the organization called a “heartwarming social experiment,” Satri is seen approached by Israelis of all stripes, who comply by embracing him.
Satri’s public message, published on Friday by the website BDS Guide and titled “Know that I Died a Dreamer,” reads:
I’m writing now with tears running down my face. I had a very long trip, and I’ll continue in this trip until the last drop of blood in my body. But I just wanted to share with you my sadness, my tears, and my pain. It’s really very hard to be a Zionist inside an arab village. A village full of hatred. I really think that the end is near. Many people are threatening me. People are promoting incitement against me in the mosques. I never ever thought that it would lead to this situation. I’m afraid to go to the shop near my house. I’m afraid to hang out in my village. I’m living in fear, the fear of getting stabbed in the street. And after that no one will remember me. No one will have that arab who’s fighting for his goal, because I’m just encouraging the Israeli Arabs to stand against terrorism and to speak out. I became a target. A target for everyone. A target for the Palestinians. A target for my village’s citizens. A target for Hamas. A target for every single man in this world. I’ve never thought that to speak the truth about my beloved country would lead to becoming a victim. When I started my way, I did take it in my hands that I might be killed because of this, but not in this way. I’m just staying home all the day. When I see a car, I’m afraid that it’s someone who wants to kill me. No one can imagine this feeling. To live in fear, live with the possibility of getting killed any moment. It’s really a very terrible feeling. But no, I won’t just keep calm and not talk anymore. I’m not this man who will just leave when he feels danger. I won’t just keep calm. I won’t!! I wont escape and just disappear! I’ll fight. I’ll fight alone. Against all the terrorists. Against all the people who want me dead because I’m going to serve in the military. I won’t!!! This is a message. it’s not an article… I want to tell you I’ll keep fighting against all the terrorists, against our enemies. The enemies that don’t want me to speak out and to stand against them… I want to tell you , that I might see tomorrow. And this message might be my last message. But just know something: if I died and if they succeeded to kill me, know that I died a Zionist defending my country. And know that I was smiling while dying because I’ll die for my country. And it’s really a very big honor. Know that I died and I have a dream. Know that I died a dreamer. A dreamer looking for a new future empty of hatred and full of love. Know that I died for a goal, not for nothing. Know that I died and Zionism in my cool blood. Know that I died a fighter against them… Like I said: Three words, one point: AM ISRAEL CHAI!
Love you all Thank you