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

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.

Read more at Reuters

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

 

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict