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A Jordanian Wants to be in the IDF

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By Anav Silverman
Tazpit News Agency

IDF Officer training ceremonyIn January 1996, a Muslim baby born in northern Jordan was given the
name Yitzhak Rabin. The mother and father, who were supporters of
peace with Israel, had wanted to honor the slain Israeli leader’s role
in the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty with King Hussein of Jordan in
1994. It was an unusual move, to say the least, and at the time, the
parents’ decision to give their child a Jewish name, sparked an
unprecedented uproar in Jordan.

The father lost his job and was harassed by family members and
neighbors following the name choice. Jordan’s state registrar had told
the parents that it was illegal to give the boy a Jewish name, but the
Jordanian Ministry of Interior later ruled that it was legal. However,
the continuing hostilities forced the family to flee. Yitzhak Rabin
Namsy has been living in exile with his family for nearly 16 years –
in Israel.

The Atlantic recently ran an article following up on Namsy, today 18,
who lives in Eilat with his mother, and follows Judaism – keeping the
Sabbath and going to synagogue.

“I want to become an officer [in the army] and continue in the path of
Yitzhak Rabin, may his memory be blessed,” stated Namsy in an
interview with Israeli press. “I want to give back to the state in a
way that would make Yitzhak and Leah Rabin proud of me.”

Namsy, who has been living in Eilat most of his life, has adapted to
Israeli culture, surrounding himself with Jewish friends and speaking
only Hebrew. He has adopted Judaism as his religion and will
officially convert in the near future according to the Atlantic

His mother, Miriam, who speaks fluent Hebrew wants to share their
story with the press. She lives alone with her son in a small
apartment in Eilat – her husband still lives in Israel, but left the
family a few years ago and maintains little contact. She explains that
her family moved to Israel after Leah Rabin, the prime minister’s
widow, heard of their plight and arranged for them to emigrate to
Israel herself.

Today Namsy wants to enlist to the Israeli army like the rest of his
classmates and has been lobbying for the right to do so. Both he and
his mother, Jordanian Bedouins, are listed as temporary residents in
Israel. In an interview with Israel’s Yedioth Aharanot last November,
Namsy insists that he “doesn’t understand what the problem is here. I
have always felt Israeli; even more so with a name like mine.”

Miriam herself noted at the end of the Atlantic article that she has
no regrets naming her son after an Israeli prime minister despite all
the hardships. “Yitzhak was a prophet for both Jews and Muslims. And
Rabin? [Most] Jordanians want peace. So why should I regret it?”

Jordan became the second Arab country, after Egypt to sign a peace
accord with Israel in July 1994. The countries pledged that neither
would allow its territories to be used for military strikes against
each other and further agreed to broad cooperation in tourism, trade,
and other areas, while settling water and land disputes.

The treaty had been denounced by the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat
who at the time, was angered by a section of the treaty that
recognized Jordan’s historic role as guardian of Islamic shrines in
Jerusalem and not the Palestinians.  Praising the agreement, King
Hussein had stated that it brought “peace with dignity” and was a
“gift to our peoples and generations to come.”

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