After posting a series YouTube videos in which he openly identified himself as a loyal Arab Muslim citizen of Israel, young Mohammed Zoabi received a number of serious death threats, including from members of his own extended family, eventually forcing him to flee the Jewish state in fear for his life.
Zoabi, a native of the northern town of Nazareth, posted his last video in June, just after three Jewish youths around his own age were abducted by Hamas terrorists. In the video, Zoabi, holding an Israeli flag, boldly demanded that his fellow Muslims unconditionally release the Jewish boys, who were later found dead.
In that and earlier videos, Zoabi was not shy about his love for Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state where, in contrast to the surrounding nations, an ethnic and religious minority like himself enjoyed all freedoms of expression and basic human rights.
For his trouble, Zoabi, then just 17 years old, was repeatedly assailed by fellow Arabs on online social networks, and quite possibly in person in his own hometown. The threats became so serious that Zoabi went into hiding for a time, before eventually deciding to leave Israel.
Before departing, Zoabi posted to Facebook to reaffirm that he is “an Arab Muslim and at the same time a proud Zionist,” but insisted that he had no choice but to go live abroad lest someone make good on their threats against him.
Zoabi’s mother, who supported his expressions of loyalty to Israel and his decision to leave the country, told the daily newspaper Israel Hayom that her son is “a wonderful boy who has never hurt anyone. It is not fair the way he has been treated. They (Arab Muslim antagonists) act as though he killed someone. He does not deserve this kind of treatment.”