Molly Livingstone

They May Have the Same Last Name, But…(and it’s a big but)

What makes you a family? DNA? Same last name? A label of brother or sister? We now know that Mohammad Zoabi and Hanin Zoabi are a part of the same family, but they clearly come from very different perspectives when it comes to Israel. While both are outspoken (perhaps a similar trait), the similarities seem to end where they begin.

Mohammad, from what the news has reported, is 17-years-old and lives in Nazareth with his mother. He is an Arab Israeli and from his videos one could gather that he is a proud supporter of Israel.

Hanin is a minister in the Knesset in the United Arab List Party. She has had her name in the spotlight over the years, whether it was her time spent on the famous boat, the Flotallia or her most recent refusal to call the kidnappers of the three Israeli teenage boys, ‘terrorists’.

If you are like me, then you are constantly checking the news for any updates, hoping to see breaking headlines of the young boys return home to safety. In the meantime we are seeing the back and forth of social media: hashtags, pictures, videos, even scoring new songs in the online fight to #BringBackOurBoys.

Mohammad made a video too. It is moving to watch him speak in three languages, English, Hebrew and Arabic, to convey his message of solidarity and hope that our boys will be brought home. Besides being extremely jealous that he has perfect English, Hebrew and Arabic, compared to my heavily American accented broken Hebrew; I am in awe of his bravery to speak out against the status quo. I think anyone who watches that video can agree that the kid has balls and that he should probably hide if he wants to keep them.

And while Mohammad is in fact getting many death threats, even from his own family, Hanin isn’t fearing for her life as she continues to use that same opportunity that democracy affords her, freedom of speech, to promote her cause. Speaking out against her family member, Hanin has called him “sad” and “stupid,” and claimed that the kidnappers did this because they don’t have any other way to change their situation.

In a country where Hanin is able to publicly state that kidnappers from a known terrorist organization, targeted three boys, students on their way home from school, I don’t believe that kidnapping is your only option for change. After all, she seems to be able to fight her cause using the tools of government and freedom of speech. Mohammad did the same thing. There must be a few in between options from words to kidnapping to get your message across.

So what is really sad and stupid here?

Hanin enjoys democracy, while four boys have fallen through the cracks of our freedoms. The three boys that were kidnapped by terrorists and the one boy that chose to speak out in solidarity. Their lives will never be the same, and yet Hanin is doing her usual routine.

About the Author
Larry David once said, 'I'm not an inventor. I'm an improver. I improve things that are broken.' Whether it’s improvisation, comedy sketch, or stand up, Molly Livingstone is improving life in Israel one chuckle at a time, with an honest and hilarious view of the Holy Land.
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