Death Threats on ‘Bedouin Jew’

Bedouins torched the home and threatened the life of a sheikh who says that most his tribe were Jews who were forced to convert to Islam.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu , | updated: 09:12

Bedouin Sheikh Salem al-Huzeil
Bedouin Sheikh Salem al-Huzeil
Israel news photo

Bedouin in the area of Rahat, northwest of Be’er Sheva, have threatened the life of a neighboring sheikh and set his house on fire following his recent meeting to reinforce ties with Jews and Judaism that are part of his ancestry.

Sheikh Salem al-Huzeil maintains that most his tribal ancestors were Jewish until they were forced to convert during the Muslim conquest approximately 1,300 years ago. Hundreds of Bedouin and Arabs families in neighboring villages are known to practice certain Jewish customs, such as lighting candles Friday night, evidence of their Jewish roots.

Bedouin enemies have reacted violently to his efforts to maintain friendly relations with the Jewish community and to demonstrate for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Posters recently have been distributed calling for the death of Sheikh al-Huzeil, although he has said that his tribe has no intentions of converting to Judaism. Several members of his family suffered severe burns after Bedouin opponents set his house on fire.

The Islamic Movement in the south does not want good relations with Jews,” noted Rabbi Dov Stein, who as among those who met with the Sheikh. Rabbi Stein has urged Defense Minister Ehud Barak to investigate the threats and calls for incitement. The movement's northern branch is headed by Sheikh Raad Salah, who has been convicted several times for incitement,

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