The Bosnian-Muslim Family Who Saved Jews from the Nazis—and Who Were Later Rescued in Return

June 21 2022

Sabina Vajraca, a U.S.-based director and former refugee from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, recently released a short film titled Sevap/Mitzvah (“A Good Deed”). It is based on the life of Zejneba Hardaga, a Muslim woman who helped hide a Jewish family, the Kabiljos, during World War II and later helped them escape Nazi-occupied Sarajevo for Israel. As Daria Sito-Sucic notes, the good deed was returned half-a-century later, when the Kabiljos helped Hardaga flee Bosnia’s embattled capital and find refuge in the Jewish state.

The Hardagas were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli Holocaust museum Yad Vashem, based on testimony provided by the Kabiljo family. The honorific is awarded to non-Jews who helped Jews escape persecution in the Holocaust.

“Zejneba Hardaga is the first Muslim woman in the world who was recognized as Righteous Among Nations,” said Eli Tauber, a member of the Sarajevo Jewish community. Tauber, who wrote a book about 54 Bosnians who were honored as Righteous for saving Jews during the World War II, said that Hardaga also helped his grandparents leave Sarajevo at that time.

“She gave my grandmother a veil and pantaloons to disguise herself as a Muslim woman, . . . and gave my grandfather the money to buy tickets and run away from Sarajevo,” he recalled.

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Read more at Reuters

More about: Bosnia, Holocaust, Holocaust rescue, Righteous Among the Nations

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship