How an Albanian Muslim Rescued Two Jewish Families from Hitler

During the Axis powers’ occupation of Albania, Xhemal Veseli was one of many Muslims who sheltered Jews during the Holocaust. In 2004, Yad Vashem formally recognized him as one of the “Righteous among the Nations.” Ilanit Chernick tells the story of how he took in seven Jews:

The Mandil family escaped the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, fleeing to . . . Albania, which at the time was occupied by Italy. “My brother was a photographer in Tirana when he met a group of Jews who arrived from [the nearby city of] Kavajë,” [Veseli recounted]. “It was a coincidence that one of them from the group was a photographer, too; he was going to look for a job at a photographer’s shop in Tirana.”

It happened that the shop where Moshe Mandil was looking for a job was owned by a man named Neshad Prizerini, who had once been Mandil’s own apprentice. Prizerini offered Mandil a job and invited him, his wife, and two children to stay with his family.

At the time, his apprentice happened to be Veseli’s seventeen-year-old brother, who was sent there from [their native town of] Kruja to learn the trade. But when the Nazis invaded Tirana, “my brother phoned me to come and take them to Kruja,” Veseli recalled, “I went, and I took them in my cattle cart to Kruja—we sheltered them for five months.” . . .

Veseli later brought three members of the Ben-Yosef family from Tirana [as well], hiding both families in his barn. They remained with the Veseli family until liberation in November 1944.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Albania, Holocaust, Photography, Righteous Among the Nations, Yugoslavia

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion