WATCH: Arab Born Kuwaiti Muslim Discusses His Return to Judaism

Interview with Kuwaiti man who, like all Arab children is raised to hate Israel, discovers his Jewish ancestry so he moves to the Jewish state to marry & raise Jewish children.

By Israel Today Staff


Mordechai Halawa’s touching story of growing up a Kuwaiti Muslim with Palestinian Arab ancestry only to discover he’s actually a Jew has been making the rounds in the Israeli media over the past week.

Mordechai Halawa in Jerusalem, where he now lives – Photo: Orot TV

Born Mumtaz Halawa, he always knew his grandmother had been a Jew who converted to Islam in order to marry his grandfather, an Arab from what is now the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Nablus (biblical Shechem).

In Islamic law, someone born to a Muslim father is, therefore, a Muslim. Halawa never thought differently of himself, despite knowing his grandmother’s background.

That was until a Jewish man in Canada, where Halawa had gone to study, informed him that Jewishness is not primarily a religion, but rather an ethnicity that cannot be erased by conversion to one religion or another.

“I felt that until that day I was in a dream world, and then someone smacked me and I woke up,” Halawa told Orot TV.

Having come to a sudden realization that he was the enemy he was raised to hate, Halawa changed his first name to Mordechai, immigrated to Israel, began living as a Jew, married a Jewish girl, and is proudly hopeful that the children he will one day have will be Israelis.

A number of research projects in recent years have revealed that Halawa might not be alone, and that a large percentage of what are considered to be “Palestinian Arabs” have at least some Jewish heritage.

The narration in the video above is in Hebrew, but Halawa speaks in English throughout (besides the opening seconds, when he is speaking to friends in Arabic).


View original Israel Today publication at: