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Avichay Shanti: "I Want to Raise My Children as Jews"

In a open-hearted confession on his Facebook page, Avichay Shanti — an Arab in the process of conversion — expresses the angst of an Arab who fell in love with Judaism

| 27.07.16 | 07:05
Avichay Shanti: I Want to Raise My Children as Jews
Within 13 hours of putting up his post, Avichay Shanti, an Arab in the process of conversion, raked in thousands of hits on his Facebook page. Readers were stunned to hear of his love for Judaism.
It is difficult to remain indifferent to his words: "Let’s start with the face that I’m a Jew in the  body of an Arab, and am in the process of conversion. Before I begin the story of my predicament, I want to say that I come from a supportive Arab family. I do not hate Arabs, absolutely not. I love Arabs ... but Arabs like me, who think right like me. Who think just like all the Jews, like any normal person who hates the guts of anyone who hates him, who hates the terrorists or any other group that prevents us from coexisting.
"I think that everyone who lives in this country should hate anyone who dares to harm us. And when I say ‘us’, I mean the entire Jewish people, without exception. We are here together for one goal, and whoever has forgotten it — his place is not in Israel. Whatever you are — Jewish, Muslim, Christian and so on — this is a Jewish state and we have to respect that, just as it respects all of us, without exception.
"Everyone knows me as an Arab and likes me as an Arab. I can see and feel that in every fiber of my limbs. I decided to convert to Judaism — not to be loved, but for myself. I come from an Arab family that grew up with Jews our entire life. I have always been proud to be a part of this noble and moral people — the Jewish people. The people who suffered so much, the people that everyone tried to beat down, going back to the Bible period. In spite of everything, that people continues to be patient, strong and successful. And always, but always, helping anyone who needs or asks for its protection.
"After I grew up with you Jews, I realized how much I want to be part of this tiny country and how much I wanted to get up every morning, put on tefillin, pray, and go to the synagogue. I want my children to grow up as Jews, with the traditions of this noble and forgiving people, of this people that I and all my family are proud to be part of. I am in love with this people."
At this point, Avihay turns to the Jewish people and asks whether they will receive him with open arms, or reject him out of hand. "I will not lie that I am afraid. I'm not ashamed to say that I need support and need to see that I am being welcomed, so I’ll know that I was right to speak with such candor," he wrote.