This excellent article foremost speaks about Mosab Yousef’s book, Son of Hamas, and in doing so, Rabbi Eckstein summarizes parts of Mosab’s private life which have become so public, and ends with if you are a friend of Israel, you will find Mosab’s story one of faith and intrigue.
But Mosab’s personal story is equally compelling. At age 18 he is arrested by Israeli security forces, imprisoned, and subject to harsh interrogation. In this Israeli prison – ruled on the inside by Hamas in the same way that street gangs hold power in some American prisons – Mosab sees Hamas leadership inflicting unspeakable cruelty on their fellow Palestinians. His faith in the terrorist group begins to weaken. “Every day, there was screaming; every night, torture,” he remarks with horror. “Hamas was torturing its own people!… Was this Hamas? Was this Islam?”
Despite these revelations, Mosab’s hatred and distrust of the Israelis still runs deep. When offered freedom in exchange for acting as an informant for the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, he accepts, but only because he believes that it will put him in a better position to take revenge on his Israeli captors.
Ironically, Mosab’s work with the Shin Bet only serves to greatly improve his view of Israel. “The world I knew was relentlessly eroding, revealing another world that I was just beginning to understand,” he says. “Every time I met with the Shin Bet, I learned something new, something about my life, about others. It wasn’t brainwashing through mind-numbing repetition, starvation, and sleep deprivation. What the Israelis were teaching me was more logical and more real than anything I had ever heard from my own people.”
In the end, however, what really reconciles Mosab to the Israelis is his conversion to Christianity, which gradually leads him to a new understanding of his “enemies,” his friends, and himself. “For years I had struggled to know who my enemy was, and I had looked for enemies outside of Islam and Palestine,” he says, describing his transformation. “But I suddenly realized that the Israelis were not my enemies… I saw that enemies were not defined by nationality, religion, or color. I understood that we all share the same common enemies: greed, pride, and all the bad ideas and the darkness of the devil that live inside us.”