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'Son Of Hamas' Visits Mt. Kisco, Draws Large Crowd

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y.- Mosab Hassan Yousef, the author of the acclaimed book "Son of Hamas," came to Mount Kisco this week to speak about his troubled times during his young life. The event was hosted by the Chabad of Bedford on Thursday.

“Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices” was published in 2010, bringing to light Yousef’s involvement in the Israeli and Palestinian conflict where he acted as a spy for Israel. His father, the sheikh Yousef Dawood, was the founder of the terrorist group Hamas, which Yousef turned against after discovering the amount of civilian brutality involved, among many other issues. After getting captured by the Israeli security service in 1996, he agreed to become an informant on Hamas, a secret he held from 1997 to 2007.

Locals were extremely excited to hear his viewpoints of the conflict, because they are still fresh and quite interesting." There’s a large Jewish community here, and Middle East issues are on the forefront of everyone’s mind," said Rabbi Arik Wolf of the Chabad. "So this is a unique perspective that our communities want to hear. It’s inspiring to people."

Community members were not only drawn to the Mount Kisco Holiday Inn for Yousef, but also to support of the local Chabad. "We are very supportive of Chabad itself and all its causes. And this is a huge event," says Emily Dauber from Chappaqua. "We’re here to support them and to hear what this man has to say. He went out on a limb for Israel, and we’re big supporters of Israel in this community."

Emily's husband Paul agreed, while also noting that the event hopefully will spark an interest in those who listen to Yousef to actually go to the region gain perspective by being there in person.

"I hope it will encourage people to go to the Middle East, especially Israel, and to feel what it feels like," Paul said. "Too many people in this country express their points of view without having ever experienced what it feels like to actually be there."

But for the moment, Yousef and the heart of the conflict was brought to Northern Westchester, and Yousef was more than happy to do his part in sharing the details.

"It seems that God has given me a much better family now, and a much bigger family. Everywhere I go, I am blessed by the Jewish communities," he said. "I’m very honored, humbled, and very grateful for you. Thank you so very much."

Chabad is an outreach organization of the Lubavitcher Hasidic movement, an orthodox Jewish group whose headquarters is in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Their late leader, Rabbi Menchem Mendel Schneerson, spearheaded the creation of Chabad, whose reach stretches around the globe and also at many college campuses across the United States. They attempt to bring traditional Judaism to more secular Jews.

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