As a Palestian boy, Mosab Hassan Yousef hurled stones at Israeli tanks and ran from bullets on the West Bank. But misgivings about the Intifada arose when he saw Hamas leaders torture fellow Palestinians in an Israeli jail.
“Those people I was hoping would bring justice, happiness to earth by creating a global Islamic state were torturing their own people. They were suspicious that someone was giving information to the Israeli interrogators,” Yousef said in a YouTube video.
“They were torturing their own people without mercy, much worse than the Israelis. One question arose, why do I hate Israel for torturing me and why don’t I hate Hamas for torturing their own people? What my enemy was doing made more sense than what my family and closest friends were doing.”
During his jail sentence, Yousef, then 18, signed up to work as a double agent. He did so thinking he would infiltrate and exact revenge on Shin Bet, the Israeli version of the FBI. But as he witnessed more and more Hamas’ brutality, that plan got scuttled and he collaborated with Israeli intelligence to foil Palestinian plots. He worked to stop senseless deaths on both sides.
He agreed to betray his countrymen on the condition that the Israelis not assassinate but only imprison. He even betrayed his father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founder member of the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian group Hamas.
“I was the person that put my father in prison. I was working against his organization to destroy the idea of violence.” Yousef said. “If he’s outside, he was going to be assassinated. The safest place for him was in a prison.”
From 1997 to 2007, Yousef halted assassination attempts against Israeli leaders and put high-ranking Hamas leaders behind bars.
After a cab driver invited him to a Bible study, he was confronted with Jesus’ injunction to love your enemy. “That made perfect sense,” he said. From his birth, he had been drilled to regard the Israelis as his enemies.
Leaders of the Bible study gave him an Arabic-English Bible. At first they didn’t know his terrorist connections. As he searched and questioned, he eventually accepted Jesus as his Savior, and in 2005 he was secretly baptized in Tel Aviv.
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