Jordanian Muslim Yitzhak Rabin faces uncertain future in Israel

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Yitzhak Rabin Namsy lives in Israel, practices Judaism, speaks Hebrew and has ambitions to be an officer in the Israeli army. Unremarkable details, unless you knew that Namsy was also a Jordanian Muslim.

While Namsy is not yet officially Jewish, or Israeli, he and his family have been living in exile for 16 years, all because of his name, The Atlantic reported on Saturday.

Born in the city of Irbid in northern Jordan, new born Namsy and his family were forced to flee the country when his less than conventional name sparked country-wide controversy and the Ministry of Interior refused to approve the moniker.

The now 17 year old was named after Israel’s former prime minister, known for his role in the Oslo accords as an proponent for peace with Palestinians, a controversial position in his homeland which led to his assassination by an Orthodox Jew.

Leah Rabin, the former prime minister’s widow, heard of the family’s story and personally arranged for the family to emigrate to Israel. After her death in 2000, the family became just another marginalized Arab family seeking permanent residency in the Jewish state.

Despite his heritage, his upbringing has made the teenager decidedly Israeli. He is even set to convert officially to Judaism in the coming weeks.

His mother Miriam claims that the teenage boy even rejects Arab culture.

“He hears me speaking Arabic and he doesn’t want to hear it. I speak to him in Hebrew, that’s where I learned [the language]. But he refuses to speak Arabic and doesn’t understand it anyway,” she said.

The family – now just Namsy and his mother—live under less than auspicious circumstances. Since their arrival in 1998, the family has been living on temporary residencies which can be cancelled at any time; a fact especially worrying considering the uproar they faced in their native country, making the return back to Jordan impossible.

Namsy has more ambitious goals than just residency: “I want to become an officer [in the army], and continue in the path of Yitzhak Rabin, may his memory be blessed,” the younger Yitzhak told an interviewer in November.

While the process of the permanent residencies has been approved, the family remains unconvinced as such decisions can change arbitrarily and on a whim.

Namsy appears undetermined.

“I want to give back to the state in a way that would make Yitzhak [Rabin] … proud of me.”

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