Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Why won't Yad Vashem honor an Arab with the designation "Righteous Among the Nations”?

In an op-ed piece published by the New York Times on December 27, 2011, a woman called Eva Wiesel recounts how she and her family were saved from the Nazis during World War II by Khaled Abdul Wahab, an Arab Muslim.

Though Yad Vashem has recognized 23,000 people who saved Jewish lives as "Righteous Among the Nations", Wahab is not one of them. Wiesel and her sisters have provided Yad Vashem with evidence of Wahab's heroism, but for reasons not fully explained, their application has been rejected. 

Admittedly, the op-ed gives only Wisel's side of the story. But if the museum, as she writes, has agreed that Wahab was a "noble man" and if, as she insists, some of the "Righteous Among the Nations" performed less heroically than Wahab did, I can't understand Yad Vashem's behavior.  It seems unnecessarily punctilious. Why use a technicality to deny a good man an honor? How does the museum gain anything by excluding him?

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