Sunday, February 23, 2014

Palestinian Arab Muslim Converts To Judaism

Every morning for the last two years, Yaniv comes to this tiny yeshiva in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. Yaniv, a Palestinian, was born Muslim and converted seven years ago. He loves to study Judaism, he says, and is continuously excited by it. Yaniv is proud to be Jewish. Yaniv’s rabbi says that he is proud of his student who is passionate and determined in his love of Judaism.

Just two years ago he was called Busman, and lived in an Arab village near Nablus. Osman was released from an Israeli prison after 11 years, on charges of manslaughter. He discovered Judaism while in prison, and has since converted. This is Bussman, or Yaniv, moments after being released from jail, on the Palestinian side of the green line. Crying bitterly, Yaniv said that he had nowhere to go, now that he was a Jew. He could not enter Israel because he was considered a Palestinian, and in the territories, his life was in danger due to his conversion.

As we film Yaniv, he is approached by a man who tells him that he saw the footageof his release from prison on the news and that it was Yaniv’s steadfast belief in Judaism, which affirmed his own beliefs and brought him closer to his own faith. Yaniv is moved by the encounter.

Two years later, Yaniv is a star student at his yeshiva, has an adoptive family, and several matchmakers working to find him the right match. He has been living in Israel as a temporary resident, dedicating his life to the Torah, working odd jobs, dreaming of becoming a citizen, and even joining the military.

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