Izzeldine: ‘I Shall Not Hate’

Dr. Izzeldine Abuelaish, a Gaza-born doctor cured thousands of Arab-hating Israeli Jew patients at Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, known as the Pink City. His caring for the Israelis was paid by Israeli shelling of his home in Jabaliya – killing his three young daughters and a niece during 23-day invasion of Gaza Strip.

Dr. Izzeldine Abuelaish, who now lives in Toronto (Canada) accompanied by the remaining members of his family – has just published his first book, titled I shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor\’s Journey.

Even his family tragedy has not turned him to hate Jews. He is involved in inter-faith dialogue between Muslims and Jews and is invited to lecture in Toronto Synagogues on centuries-old Muslim tolerance towards Jew and Christian communities living within Muslim societies.

In answer to the question of why he refuses to hate, he, a devout Muslim, referred to Prophet Mohamed’s (pbuh) dictum that he is strongest who controls his anger.

Rachel Pope, an Israeli medical student, posted his admiration for Dr. Izzeldine at Lancet Global Health Network: “Although I am also heart broken because of Dr. Abuelaish’s loss, I am trying to remember his optimism and share it with others so that change can be made. Thinking of Dr. Abuelaish’s constant smile, even when speaking about unpleasant things, reminds me of what Howard Zinn writes in the Optimism of Uncertainty: “An optimist isn’t necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness…and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

Dr. Abuelaish’s dedication to promoting personal understanding across barriers of religion and nationality is important. However, that alone will not bring about the needed changes. Israel has a vested interest in continuing its oppression, and he does not offer a plan to overcome it.

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2 Responses to Izzeldine: ‘I Shall Not Hate’

  1. BughouseWW says:

    Dr. Abu Laish spoke at a local Jewish Community Center. He was amazing: “I do not hate because I am trained to heal, to make the person well. To hate, to embrace darkness, is the opposite of healing. ”

    Also amazing was some of the questions/statements made from the audience, essentially blaming Izzeldin for the deaths of his children, and blaming Palestinians for their refugee status, while pointing to the success of Jews at having made a financially prosperous state. Unbelievable. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed that people could be so self-absorbed and so cruel. Izzeldin absorbed the blows without breaking stride.

  2. Maura Resnick says:

    I also opposed the war in Gaza and what happened to Dr. Abulaish’s family was a horrible tragedy. But I take issue with your characterization of the Israeli patients he treated as “Arab-hating Israeli Jew patients.” Not all Israeli Jews hate Arabs and a great many opposed the war in Gaza and also the policies of the current Israeli government. Moreover, Israeli Jewish doctors also care for many Arab patients, who equally may hate Israelis and any Jews.

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