MembersAndalusia as a Model for Peace

I met Sheikh Nasser Darawsha in his hometown of Nazareth a day before three armed Israeli Arab Muslims emerged from the Temple Mount and killed two police officers.

By Tsvi Sadan |
Photo: Tsvi Sadan

This pleasant and warm person represents the sharpest contrast possible to the Islamic violence played out just a day later. As sheikh of the White Mosque located in Old Nazareth, Darawsha (40), virtually unknown to Israeli Jews, is an important and influential figure among local Arabs.

Throughout our conversation, Darawsha insists that his views represent most Muslims living in Israel and the West Bank. But his positions are diametrically opposed to those of most Israeli and Palestinian Arab leaders, whose venomous rhetoric is anything but peaceful. Most Muslims, he tells me, prefer Israeli citizenship or residency. For Palestinians, the prospect of living under the Palestinian Authority has become far less appealing since the outbreak of the Arab Spring, which he calls the Arab “fire.”

Darawsha’s personal hero is Yusuf al-Fahum, Nazareth’s mayor at the time when Israel captured the city during the 1948 War of Independence. Fahum’s greatest achievement, says Darawsha, was calling upon Nazareth’s residents to stay put rather than believe the empty promises of the Arab leaders, who had told the local Arab population to flee until the Jews...

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