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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

American hiker detained in Iran has Jewish Israeli parent

Now that US hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer have been released, US and Israeli media are spilling a secret that they kept for the last two years out of fear of endangering his life: Josh Fattal is the son of a Jewish Israeli father (Hat Tip: Zvi S).
Josh's father, Jacob Fattal, was born in Iraq and moved to Israel before ultimately settling in the United States. Josh Fattal became a Bar Mitzvah at Rodeph Shalom's suburban campus. He traveled to Israel several times, the last time just before meeting up with his friends in Syria and going on to Iraqi Kurdistan, where they crossed the border to Iran and were arrested.

It's no accident that the Jewish side of the story has largely been kept under wraps, according to family friend Brian Gralnick and others familiar with the situation.

And it doesn't take much imagination to guess the reasons why: The Iranian government is virulently anti-Israel and has a history of charging Jews with spying for Israel.

While it stands to reason that Fattal's captors knew his religion or learned it during interrogations, his family did not want to take any chances and risk having information get out into the public sphere that could endanger their son even further.

And, since the families of the three captives worked so closely together, forming a united front, the idea was to keep the focus on three American citizens who were wrongly imprisoned, rather than single out one because of his Jewishness.

So, despite the fact that Laura Fattal appeared frequently in the media as she and the other families waged a public campaign for their children's release, she and other family members declined to be interviewed by the Jewish Exponent. The family also rejected offers of several Jewish organizations to intervene.

The Jewish Exponent chose to refrain from reporting on the story altogether, let alone detail Fattal's Jewish connection, until the hikers were freed.

"When it comes to someone's physical safety, we'll always err on the side of caution, even if it means suppressing such a dramatic and important story," said Lisa Hostein, the Exponent's executive editor.
Read the whole thing.

YNet adds:
"It's the best gift we could have received for the (Jewish) New Year," Fattal's father told Yedioth Ahronoth.

His aunt, who lives in Israel, said: "We've prayed for his safety for the past two years. We went crazy. We talked to him and were able to notice he was very thin. He promised to come visit Israel, but now he's going to undergo a rehabilitation process."
If only we could channel some of this Jewish activism into activism on behalf of Jews and Israel.


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At 2:39 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

is his mother Jewish?

At 4:53 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

??? I googled these people's names some time ago and figured out they were Jewish. The synagogue where he had his Bar Mitzvah ceremony is URJ. So if his family stayed involved, he probably continued in their youth program. I don't get this... Israel classifies this guy as Jewish, but not the rest of the kids in the U.S. in his exact geneology situation...

The whole world is upside down.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Or maybe his mom is Jewish also... they don't say.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

it turns out that the ISM supporter is a goy with a goy mother.I hoped he got what he deserved in prison. ISM likes ben-zimris as they can sneak into Israel easier than total goys.

At 11:52 PM, Blogger Chana said...

I figured this out before, but wondered whoy nobody was talking about it


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