Distraught and defiant, the mother of young “Zionist Muslim” from Nazareth Mohammed Zoabi said Wednesday that he has received threats from Muslim extremists in “the territories” and from Arab countries following his recent Facebook video, expressing support for the three Jewish youths abducted by Hamas.
In an interview on Tel Aviv's 102FM radio, the mother of 17-year-old Mohammed said her son came under a barrage of threats after uploading the video to Facebook.
"My son is being threatened,” she said, “and it is not a temporary thing. I know what this is about, they cursed him as if he were the enemy of the entire Arab population. They did not care that he is a 17-year-old boy, they did not respect his opinion."
"Everyone has the right to say how he feels," she asserted. "This is how he feels. And he did not say anything terrible, he did not threaten, he did not kill, he did not accuse, he is not a traitor! He said 'free our boys,' because he has Jewish friends. All of his friends are Jewish and he studies among them and he feels like a human being."
"This is not a matter of Jew and Arab,” she insisted. “Where are we living, that he can be punished like this? Does he not have the right to speak? What will they do now, sentence him to death?”
"Will I have to hide him my whole life? Where will I hide him?” she lamented.
"This has reached the territories [referring to Judea and Samaria - ed.] and the Arab countries. We received threats from the territories and Arab countries. What is that all about? He doesn't have the right to say what he feels? He raised an Israeli flag? So what?... What should he raise, a Jordanian flag? I am the only one who is worried, I am the only one supporting him, and you should know that the state has also let down Mohammed.”
The mother added that one of the relatives charged with planning to hurt Mohammed – possibly his father – suddenly "ran up to him after eight months in which he did not have any contact with him" and demanded that he take down the video. Her landlord also knocked on her door and told her “it burns my heart” to see the Israeli flag hanging in his apartment.
"I came home, the landlord of the home I'm renting said to open the door of my son's room, 'I don't want the flag of the state hung in the room, it's my home.'" she recounted angrily. "Excuse me? That's a right, I can put what I want, it's also the flag of my country!"
"This is my son, I support him,” she insisted. “This is our country and our flag. I am no traitor... and I am sure all of the Arabs know that this is the truth and are afraid to say it.”
"He's only a child, just 17...he has hope that he can convince, can do something, change something. It's really unfortunate," she concluded.
"He thinks he can change things. He doesn't know that he lives in such a cruel world that doesn't let him say what he wants or feels, unfortunately."
"These three were abducted, tomorrow it could be any other Israel"
According to police reports, three of Zoabi's relatives planned to abduct him to the PA-controlled city of Jenin and harm him there. The suspects were arrested Tuesday and brought before a judge for arraignment. They were identified in media as his father, uncle and grandmother.
Remarkably, Zoabi is the relative of anti-Zionist Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), who justified the kidnapping Tuesday while insulting her young relative, deriding him as "from a divorced family. His mother now lives in Nazareth Illit, where he studies at a Jewish school. He's sleazy. He's distorted his identity."
In Zoabi's video, the youth addressed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: “To Bibi and his entire government, I say – wake up and stop cooperating with terrorists," he said. "The Palestinian Authority is the biggest terrorist."
"On the day before yesterday, these three youths were abducted,” he continued, “and tomorrow it could be me, you or any other Israeli – Arab or Jewish. I am an Israeli and will remain an Israeli. Israel will remain a Jewish and democratic country." He concluded with the traditional Jewish salutation, "Am Yisrael chai.”
On Tuesday, he took to social media to thank the outpouring of support for his message, but stated that he has received a "large number of death threats" and will now be keeping a low profile.