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.