Israel Matters! – March 2024

To think like an Arab Israeli

The article below written by Yahyah Mahamid originally appeared February 3, 2024 on ( We at Israel Matters found this so interesting and important that we are sharing it with you below.

As an Arab-Israeli, the events of October 7 and the fighting in Gaza have had a profound effect on me and the Arab community in Israel as a whole. These events put a spotlight on the complicated and complex dynamics of coexistence, the heavy price Israeli Arabs paid and are still paying, and the strong desire of Israeli Arabs to be part of Israeli society.

The State of Israel has a rich fabric of cultures, religions

and identities. Coexistence is not just an idea; rather, it

is a vital necessity for the strength and resilience of our

nation. Israeli Arabs, who make up a significant part of

the population, have a central role in Israeli society. Our

contributions in the various sectors such as medicine,

education and technology, are evidence of this fact.

However, the journey toward coexistence is full of

challenges and obstacles.

Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem where Jews

and Arabs come together to buy and sell goods

The massacre of October 7 and the ongoing fighting in

Gaza took a heavy toll on our community, and clearly

answered a question that every Israeli Arab has: are we

all one and the same in the eyes of the enemy? The fear

that this round would lead to riots, similar to those we

experienced in May 2021, during Operation Guardian of

the Walls, was growing. However, contrary to these

concerns, the Arab community reacted with remarkable

restraint and maturity. This response was not accidental,

but a deliberate choice by the community, which

To think like an Arab Israeli

demonstrated a deep desire for integration and peace.

This choice is evidence of our commitment and belief in a

common future where coexistence and mutual respect are

above all. This is a powerful statement that the Arabs of

Israel are not watching from the sidelines but are active

participants in shaping the future of the country.

The loss of human life and the kidnapping of civilians

such as Qaid al-Qadi, Bilal al-Ziadna, Hamza al-Ziadna,

Aisha al-Ziadna, Yusuf al-Ziadna, and the tragic death of

Samer al-Talalka along with two Jewish hostages, are

wounds that will take time to heal. These events

emphasize the fact that in the eyes of the cruel enemy,

all of us – Jews, Arabs, Druze, Christians – are all

legitimate targets in their eyes.

Siblings Bilal and Aisha al-Ziadna (center) in an

Israeli hospital after their release from Hamas


The question “What will happen if…” is a question that

goes through the mind of every Israeli Arab. What will

happen to us, Israeli Arabs, if the enemy arrives at our

doorstep? For years, many of us refused to believe that

we would be the ones targeted by this terrorist

organization; Hamas. After all, as this organization

presents itself as an Islamic organization, it is absolutely

forbidden to harm another Muslim, or even a person who,

according to rumors, is a Muslim. In the Quran, it is

written, “Whoever kills a believer (Muslim) with the first

intention, his punishment will be hell forever, and Allah

will pour out his wrath on him and curse him and

prepare for him a tremendous punishment.” Sura 4:93.

In the massacre of October 7, we got an answer to this

question. Hamas-ISIS does not attach any importance to

Islam – it has murdered, raped and kidnapped civilians,

Jews and Arabs alike.

The story of Sergeant First Class (Res.) Ahmed Abu Latif

is another example of the desire of Israeli Arabs to

contribute and be a part of Israeli society. His sacrifice,

alongside other fallen heroes such as Sergeant Major

Ibrahim Haruba, Sergeant Habib Kiaan and Sergeant

Salman Ibn Marai, emphasizes the common fate of

Israeli Arabs and Jews. They symbolize the unity and

resilience of the Israel Defense Forces, which includes

both Arab and Jewish soldiers, standing together to

defend the nation.

Sergeant First Class (Res.) Ahmed Abu Latif

As the late Abu Latif wrote in a chilling post after the

massacre on October 7, “We all share the same fate and

we must be together and united, that way, people who do

not believe in cooperation between the sectors, try to

intimidate, provoke and destroy relations, destroy trust.

Don’t believe them and don’t let it happen.”

Many people around the world, under the guise of human

rights activists and under the guise of “concern” for the

Palestinians, spread lies and conspiracies, trying to

create conflict between us and our Jewish partners. In

the words of Abu Latif – don’t believe them, and don’t let

it happen.