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July 24, 2016 9:41 pm

‘Know That I Died a Dreamer’ — Arab-Israeli Teen ‘Fearful, Yet Undeterred’ by Threats From Fellow Muslims, Palestinians for Outspoken Zionism (INTERVIEW)

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Mahdi Satri. Photo: Courtesy.

Mahdi Satri. Photo: Courtesy.

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

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  • Noahide

    One brave and enlightened youth as such defies thousands of terror-seeking individuals who wrongly call themselves human beings. Shine on Satri and may G-d himself shine on your blessed heart and wipe your tears and embrace you with him heavenly and fatherly embrace so that you feel safe, happy and peaceful. In this world that dictates much darkness your shining presence is a source of inspiration and hope for the future you pictured so well.Amen.

  • Liz Wagner

    May God protect you and keep you safe, along with all your family, Mahdi Satri. Your parents worry about you, I’m sure, but they must also be proud of you, too, for learning the lessons of right and wrong, pride and courage and love of one’s country, which they taught you well. It is a crime that you and others are forced to live in fear, because you love your country and want peace and security for all who live there. I hope you will see your father recover from his illness. If you need to step back to make yourself less of a target, there is no shame in that. You can only do what feels right for you.

  • What a lovely boy.

  • Dani

    Thi type of situation might only happen in a country like Israel. Are there any countries in the world in which patriots are persecuted? Israel’s “liberties” are the ones to be blamed for this situation. Liberty should be a right only for those who appreciate democracy.

  • A Zionist

    A courageous young, proud ISRAELI Zionist who is being terrorised by anti-Israel Israelis.

    Satri represents all that is best in Israeli society. There are many Muslims who are Zionists, who do not have any problem that a tiny strip of land, the one Jewish country (there are 82 Christian, 56 Muslim and 3 Hindu) in the world.

    Stari reminds me of Muhammed Zoabi, relative of the infamous Hanin Zoabi. What “we”, the Jewish community and especially we Israelis, must embrace and protect these fine young people because they are OUR future.

    They could be the next PM or President. This was Ben-Gurion’s dream: a Jewish PM and an Arab President; and then an Arab PM and a Jewish President showing the world how people should be.

    This is not a dream if WE will it, to paraphrase Herzl.

    May Hashem/Allah guide and protecthim and keep Satri safe from harm.

    Kol Hakavod!

  • Nach Shon

    So is the lad an ARAB, or a Muslim Israeli? Those are not the same. He is an Israeli first, a Muslim 2nd. Until a realistic & valid distinction is made in Israel & it’s press, such worthy people are stigmatized as “Arabs”. Many Muslims in Israel have no Arab ancestry. They are descendants of Jews forcibly converted. Yes they speak Arabic. But Jesse Jackson speaks English, that does not make him either Anglo-Saxon or German.

    • racy we

      He is the best of both worlds. He is strong and courageous. His family and he need protection. It’s a terrible thing to feel you’re going to die any minute, that your life is in danger. I admire him, but I am also sad for his pain. May God protect you.

  • Yadja

    God Bless this young man and Israel listen-up and protect him.

  • Gary Beresford

    The pro-Israel world need to bring this young man and his friends and family into a place of recognition and safety. Israel must consider bringing this young man and his family into the heart of Israel for safety.

  • My heart aches for his young man, A potential future leader of his people, He is living in a dark time in a fearful place, He is not afraid of Israelis but of his own neighbourhood. HIs mind is clear of hatred for anyone, He seas he world as it could be, as it should be. HE was born with the love of humanity, He can see how it is, A life were children are free to learn to think for themselves, If they are allowed to do so, and not be used by their short sighted adults, who insist on using their children to carry their learned hatreds into the next generation. IF the families in his village would have the courage to say This Boy is who we should follow, We have had enough. He is tired of feeling disposable when he can see a world of things to do to help his people. He will lead them to peace and prosperity and pride in life, not fear of death. May G’d bless him, keep him safe, and give him heroes who can guide him and bless him in a long life.

  • Judy Rosen

    Can’t we do something to help this brave young man…the Algemeiner, Stand with Us,
    Other organizations?
    He should leave his village and go somewhere where he will be safe.

    • Leah Rachelle

      I was wondering the same thing about Israel seeking protection for him. He needs to be safe, physically and emotionally. He wants to go to college, enlist in the IDF. He has such a bright future ahead of him!

  • Reform School

    Never escaping the Dark Ages and moving into the Light of the Enlightenment, most of Islam remains too ignorant to differentiate between Good and Evil, or Right and Wrong. Like Fathullah Gulen, lonely Mahdi Satri marks the divide between Netanyahu’s Reason from Erdogan’s Treason.

  • Ani

    I think he’s a brave young man and his parents, while sacred for him, must be proud. But maybe this family could use some protection? Possibly moving them to a safer spot such as Haifa where getting along with Jews and Christians is not viewed as so problematic for a Moslem?

  • Pearl

    Kol Hakavod!

  • Anee AHAVA at! You r very brave and may God be with u! I pray for ur safety. P.S. I love Israel.
    I was there last March and I bought a jersey there. It said ” Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies”!

  • Shoshie Borchardt – Migdal

    What a brave young msn – maybe he can go and live among Jews – my wish for him that he will be safe among all the hatred.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    This is such an amazing ending! Mahdi, you yourself are an Israeli hero. You are not alone. Your message, though rare, is voiced by other Muslim and Arab Christian youth living in Israel. Your courage to speak out and be the person you are is most commendable. I respect and accept you as a fellow citizen with open arms. Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to move to a safe place to complete your high-school studies before you attend university. I hope that the Israeli government will protect you.

  • Lia

    Young Mr Satri, I am so very proud of you! (I am not a Jew or an Israeli, I do not live in Israel and I’ve never even visited Israel.)Keep blessing Israel and God will bless you!

  • Mahdi– May God and all those whom you love, protect you; please move to a place where Israeli’s can do so. We– all of us who love God, life and who seek peace–whether Jewish or not, applaud and honor you. Our hearts and love– The Buchwald Family

  • He also posted on Israellycool, where he has published a number of posts

  • Can Satri not be transferred out of the village, for his safety?

    His chance to continue his cause to speak out, and in a much

    safer day to day environment.

    His message is more important telling it alive, and often.

    Who remembers all those dead ” supposedly Martyrs “? Let him

    know he will see more tomorrows, and prove in living color,

    what Honor is really about by showing what Zionism and loving

    his country is about.


    Shalom and best wishes for his great future,

    Sam Fishman
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    • May the blessing God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12) be upon this young man.


    May God protect him.

  • Very courageous young man.
    May he live a long and peaceful life.

  • Ephraim

    Please G-d may this boy be protected! A beacon of light in a world of darkness. Please live long and prosper!

  • stevenl

    A courageous young man who learn from home.

  • Edna

    God should protect you.
    Maybe you need people protection too.
    Maybe it’s time to leave your village and write from a protected place.
    Please reach out. I am too far to offer a place. I live in NY.
    I am very proud of you but I don’t want them to get to you. Please be active to protect your self.
    Much admiration.

  • GN Glaser

    As true a hero as exists in the world today. Mahdi, thank you for your courage and your humanity.

  • Yaakov

    His father is dealing with cancer, not “battling cancer.” Killing and fighting are not the solution to every problem.