Wednesday, January 24, 2007

First Arab proposed as Righteous Gentile

Khaled Abd al-Wahab, a well-to-do Tunisian farmer who died in 1997, is the first Arab to be named as a candidate for a Righteous Gentile award from Yad Vashem, Amiran Barkat reports in Haaretz. (With thanks: Lily)

The request to award him such recognition was submitted by Dr.Robert Satloff, an American Jewish expert on Arab and Islamic politics, following his research on Arabs who saved Jews during the Holocaust. Yad Vashem officials declined to speculate on the chances of the request being approved, but did note that it meets all the formal requirements, at the heart of which is testimony given before her death by a Jewish woman who was saved by al-Wahab.

In an interview with Haaretz, Satloff said he hopes that his research will help break the "conspiracy of silence" in the Arab world surrounding the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust. Satloff, a Middle East expert and the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, started his research in 2001, following the attack on the World Trade Center. "The attacks prompted me to decided to combat Holocaust denial in the Arab world, because in my opinion, this is a primary source of friction between the West and Islam."

Read article in full

Article in The Times

More on Satloff's book here

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