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The Nobel Peace Prize Winner’s Israel Connection

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The Nobel Peace Prize Winner’s Israel Connection

Post  Admin on Thu 11 Oct 2018, 8:38 pm

The Nobel Peace Prize Winner’s Israel Connection
Oct 10, 2018  |  by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
The Nobel Peace Prize Winner’s Israel Connection
For Nadia Murad, the Jewish people inspire activism and hope.
http://www.aish.com/ci/s/The-Nobel-Peace-Prize-Winners-Israel-Connection.html?s=mm
In 2014, pick-up trucks bearing the ISIS black flag stormed into the village of Kocho in northern Iraq, with the stated goal of ethnically cleansing all Yazidis. While 19-year-old Nadia Murad watched in horror, jihadists savagely slaughtered over 1,000 people – including her six brothers and mother.
Survivors were forced to convert to Islam. Then, Yazidi boys were sent to train as jihadist fighters, while thousands of young women and girls – including Nadia – were tortured, gang-raped, and sold on the slave market.


After a harrowing escape from ISIS captivity (taking advantage of false identity papers and a liberal German immigration policy), Nadia launched a global crusade to advocate for victims of sex crimes and human trafficking. Those efforts culminated this week as she joined a list of heroes including Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Elie Wiesel as recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.


Behind this remarkable story is a Jewish connection.


Over the millennia, Yazidis have been repeatedly subjected to massacres, often at the hands of Muslim extremists. That's why a half-million Yazidis lived in isolated, mountainous regions near the Iraqi-Syrian border, where they formed independent villages and clung tenaciously to their unique culture and heritage.


Visiting Israel last year, Nadia spoke of the Yazidis' kinship with the Jewish people:


Like the Jewish people, we have always survived. These experiences inspire us to hold onto our culture and identity. And importantly, our experiences drive us to stand up for others who are being persecuted...


For three years, ISIS has stolen the authorship of the Yazidi story. But we will not let them write our future. My time in Israel has shown me that in the wake of oppression and genocide, a community can emerge stronger.


Nadia's 2017 memoir, The Last Girl, became a best-seller and raised awareness of efforts to end sexual violence as a weapon of war – long before the #MeToo movement swept the world.


Just as Nazi officers were prosecuted by the global community, Nadia is determined that crimes committed by ISIS will be punished. Speaking last year in Israel, she said:


We must work together with determination to prove that genocidal campaigns will not only fail, but lead to accountability for the perpetrators – and justice for the survivors...


Many girls in the refugee camps who are survivors of the genocide are ready to give evidence... to talk about what happened to them.


Today, Nadia uses her growing international platform to advocate for the safe return of 3,000 Yazidis still in captivity, and for the Yazidi people's "return to our homeland."


In 2017, addressing a packed hall at Beit Hat'futsot in Tel Aviv, Nadia thanked the Jewish people "for giving us hope” and requested Jewish "mentorship to rebuild our community":


Like the Jews, the Yazidis have shown resilience in the face of oppression. Holding onto your identity can be a force of resistance. Every time we practice a traditional custom or stand up for one another we refuse to let our perpetrators be stronger than us...


The Jews and the Yazidis share a common history of genocide that has shaped the identity of our peoples, but we must transform our pain into action... I respect how you rebuilt a global Jewish community in the wake of genocide. This is a journey that lies ahead of my community.


In the spirit of the Torah teaching, "Don't stand idly by" (Leviticus 19:16), we hope that Nadia Murad, with a Nobel Peace Prize on her resume, inspires people worldwide to join the fight for freedom and justice for all.
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