The Heart of the Matter

In PERSONAL on July 10, 2010 at 18:20

Gonen ben Yitzhak and Mosab Hassan Yousef - living proof that there absolutely can be lasting peace in the Middle East.

I am posting the article that Gonen and I wrote for The Washington Post before the deportation hearing because, in it, we were able to express some very important things that have gotten lost in the media mist.

First, the Department of Homeland Security’s campaign to send me back to the Palestinian territories and to certain death was a test of America’s moral strength and the precious freedoms that are too often taken for granted.

Second, the deep, enduring friendship that developed between Gonen and me shouts to the world that peace in that region is definitely possible.


By Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen ben Itzhak, Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ours is an unlikely friendship. Gonen ben Itzhak is an Israeli, the son of a retired Israel Defense Forces (IDF) general who was in charge of defeating the first intifada some 20 years ago. Mosab Hassan Yousef is a Palestinian, the son of a founder of Hamas whose father was one of the leaders of that intifada. The Palestinians’ goal for the intifada was to elevate their cause. Israel sought to keep violence down and protect its citizens. Today we are sacrificing everything—possibly even our lives—to build a bridge of peace between our peoples.

As detailed in the book Son of Hamas, published this year, we became partners in the fight against terrorism; Mosab became an undercover agent for the Shin Bet, Israel’s security service; Gonen became his Shin Bet handler. In the nine years we worked together, the two of us, once sworn enemies, embraced mutual recognition and rejected the mindset of revenge.

All the efforts of Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization failed to achieve the goals of the intifada. All the efforts of the IDF failed to stop the hate that fueled the intifada.

Mosab observed firsthand the craziness of the cycle of violence. Mosab began to question who his real enemies were: the Hamas leaders who tortured their fellow Palestinian prisoners, or the Shin Bet, who arrested and imprisoned him. Over the 16 months that Mosab was in prison, the answer became clear, and this persuaded Mosab to go undercover for the Shin Bet. Gonen, whose code name was “Captain Loai,” became Mosab’s handler. Mosab’s reports led to the arrests of several high-ranking Palestinian figures. As we worked together to prevent the deaths of hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians, the two of us became friends.

We believe that friendships like ours are key to eliminating hate and promoting the liberty that both our peoples so desperately desire.

Mosab converted to Christianity in 2005 and moved to California in 2007. America has a vision of a world where liberty reigns. When Mosab brought terrorists to justice while working undercover for the Shin Bet, he was American at heart, fighting for liberty and justice.

Mosab has lived in this country for more than two years. We were shocked when, in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security opposed his request for political asylum, all the more so when it threatened to deport Mosab in the name of protecting American security. If this decision is upheld, it will signal to the world that America does not stand by those who sacrifice to oppose terrorism. If America wants liberty to prevail in all places, it must not abandon those who share the ideals of freedom.

Gathering human intelligence in the war against terrorism will become impossible if the United States does not protect those who risk their lives on behalf of American values.

Mosab was born a son of Hamas, but he rejected his violent destiny and found the strength to choose a different path. But having left revenge behind, he faces possible deportation as payback for embracing the ideal of loving his enemy.

When an immigration judge in California decides about Mosab’s future on Wednesday, the ramifications will be much greater than whether he is sent back to certain death anywhere in the Middle East. It is a decision about the future of liberty and about the best path to peace.

Whatever happens in San Diego, we hope that our story can be a bridge to peace. Peace is a state of mind and heart before it is a political reality. Our friendship is proof that hating hearts can change — and that changed hearts are the only hope for liberty.

  1. Dear Mosab,

    I so happy for you!! Now you must get a job and live a dissent life in the US. I believe that some day you father will forgive you, he’s still your father – don’t you worry about it.

    I just finished readying your book today (started it yesterday), and It’s now became so real to me, all this situation and your situation as well.

    It’s so good we have people like you which understands our delicate situation on the Middle East.

    I’ll keep on viewing your blog in order to receive more good news about you.

    Best wished,


  2. Our prayers are for the Peace of Israel

  3. Dear Mosab,

    Oh how often you have been in my prayers and how often your name has been lifted to the throne of THE NAME!!

    What a wonderful answer to prayer that the US Homeland Security Department did not succeed in deporting you back to certain death! The actions of this administration and the DHS will forever be a black blot of shame on the United States! Even though THEY tried, you have the love and support of millions of US citizens!

    This is only the first step. Next is to keep you safe from those who would destroy you because you are living proof that good can prevail and your story exposes the evil that they practice and spread! Now we need to find a way for you to live the American dream and for you to share your story with everyone in this country and around the world!

    There are mighty forces of darkness and principlalities arrayed against you. But He who is in you in greater than all of them!

    Mosab, you are loved and prayed for.

    God Bless You!!

  4. Mosab and Gonen the both of you are so right. Your relationship is a tremdous show of how peace is possible even between the worst of enemies.
    Please continue to speak to the world and opening show your love for one and other. Thank you both for risking all.

    John 3:21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God

  5. Dear Mosab,
    May God’s name, the true God, be praised. You are a man of courage and strength. Peace to you and to your family.

  6. Hang in there Brother!!!! Peace will prevail.

  7. Gonen,

    Thanks for stepping up to help Mosab. It was a great act of love and courage. God bless you.

  8. Hello, Mosab!!!

    Thank the Lord that you will have a chance to remain here!!!

    Have you ever heard of the Stockholm Syndrome and the Lima Syndrome? If i were teaching a class in psychology on prisoners/hostages, I would assign them your book as required reading. What all happened to you as an 18 year-old and subsequent/recent developments are classic examples.

    It is great that you have become a Christian by whatever means the Lord used to bring you to Himself.

    Best wishes!!

  9. i know this is hard to believe but i think that because of Mosab’s hard work and perseverance a certain royal blood or leader who is a believer in Islam will someday be converted to christianity. i dont know who or when but i believe it will happen soon. when that happens, that place will be the new cradle of christianity and that place will be the home of peace. i also believe that someday Mosab’s name will be in every christian book or site. every christian, if not all, will know his story and every christian will know everything about him. from his date of birth to his date of conversion, those things will be studied by all christians worldwide. you are a living proof that no one could believe and Gonen is a true friend who stood by your side. keep doing God’s will because I believe he has sent you for a reason and because I have faith in you.

  10. Yours is a story of courage and self – sacrifice. Keep fighting the good fight. The thoughts and prayers of millions will you on. Good luck and Godspeed.

  11. I’m praying for your relationship with your father and your family.

  12. Mosab,

    I am so happy for you and Gonen! What you have done is very brave! Our prayers have been answered that you will be safe here in the US! My prayers are now for both the Palestinian people who have and continue to suffer greatly and for the Israeli people to work with the Palestinians to find peace together. I do believe that Jesus is the answer for all people to live in peace and I pray in his name that he will bless the Middle East with peace!

  13. Dear Mosab .. Mosab ….

    You’re living proof …. Mosab I rejozijo inside me in my heart every news that I know about you, that brings me joy and enhances my faith at every moment, living testimony of God the Father Mosab all Christians must MUST know about your life, about yourself.
    God will raise you up .. and make you known throughout the world is not christian or christian … but people have to know about its history …
    I live in Brazil … I hope very soon and very quickly all over Brazil who knows what Jesus has done in his life. Brazil needs, need to know its history.
    I feel happy and joyful for you. All Christians will know its history, a testimony VIVO

    I thank the blessed beloved GONEN that has helped a lot, God bless you richly.

    You keep saving and giving victories. Love in the love of Jesus.
    God bless you richly!

    Barbara cp
    Brazil – Sao Paulo, Taubaté.
    16 July 2010

  14. Dear Mosab .. Mosab ….

    You’re living proof …. Mosab I rejozijo inside me in my heart every news that I know about you, that brings me joy and enhances my faith at every moment, living testimony of God the Father
    Mosab all Christians must MUST know about your life, about yourself.
    God will raise you up .. and make you known throughout the world each and Christians and all people … but people have to know about its history …
    I live in Brazil … I hope very soon and very quickly all over Brazil who knows what Jesus has done in his life. Brazil needs, need to know its history.
    I feel happy and joyful for you. All Christians will know its history, a testimony VIVO

    I thank the blessed and beloved GONEN that has helped a lot, God bless you richly.

    God continue to give you keeping more victories. I love you in the love of Jesus Christ.
    God bless you richly!

    Barbara cp
    Brazil – Sao Paulo, Taubaté.

  15. Mosab,

    I just finished your book…I cried for you. You gave up all to follow Jesus. I am praying for you. May God strengthen you for the days/years ahead. I pray that God will someday reunited you with your father, mother, brothers and sisters. Remember…nothing is impossible for the LORD. Thank you for sharing your incredible story. I pray God’s physical protection and spiritual protection over you…Mosab…please keep us posted as to your progress and what the LORD is doing in your life.

  16. Thank you, Gonen!! You are a hero too! Praying for the Lord to bless and keep you as well. Much love in Christ,

  17. Dear Mosab,
    I remember congratulating you when you showed up in Al Hayat Channel and announced you’ve become a Christian. Now I would like to congratulate you for the book , which i finished in two nights since it is amazing. I pray for your relationship with your family to be even bettter than before. I pray for peace and I pray that every blind eye gets opened by the Loving Touch of Jesus Christ, Who loves you and all your people too. May God strengthen your life and give you wisdom and guide all the steps of your life. Keep safe brother and tell everyone about the Love of Jesus which saved your life. You will always be in our prayers. We pray for ” Loai” as I love to call him, that God leads his life to the True Light. God bless you brother and protect you all the days of your life. Take care. God Bless.

  18. Mosab,
    To my brother in Christ, May I say on how proud we are as Christians that you are able to continue on serving our Lord and Savior in the works that you do on proclaiming his WORD…..I’m very well pleased that your friend Goren was at your side in helping you with your issue regarding your stay here in America and that by believing that prayers can perform miracles that our prayers was indeed answered and we will continue to pray for you Mosab that more people will convert to Christianity and recognize how Jesus’s love can free people from the bondage of hate…I will pray constantly for your family Mosab and rest assure that God has plans for them too …..May God bless your soul !!!

    California, U.S.A.

  19. May the LORD raise up many more Mosabs and Gonens! May you be only the firstfruits of a precious harvest of souls amongst Arabs and Jews to be yet and soon delivered from the power of darkness and translated to the Kingdom of the Son of God’s love!! Col.1:12-14

  20. Hi Mosab, your book has come to Norway too, and I am amazed by your story. It is overwhelming to read of your struggles with the palestinian culture, islam, family bonds.. and discovering of truth.
    In your book, however, I found some minor historic facts that I have questioned, as I am also reading Joan Peters book and reserch about the palestine conflict, perhaps I could recomend it to you to read as a historical background to the whole conflict. It took her seven yrs to finish as she did reserch in all old documents and files recorded from the time around 1948. The book is named: From time immemorial, the orgins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine. Joan Peters, 1984. I hope you will be able to read it, a bit old and thick book, but well worth the read.
    I wish you all the best and cogratulations on the decision that you are granted permanent stay in the US.
    I hope you will continue to get to know Jesus better and reflect more and more of him, his light and love to this broken world.
    with love,

  21. I cried as I finished your book thanking God for a Christian like you that risks so much to stand up for Christ. Your humble epilogue demonstrates the humility Jesus Christ teaches us but so few practice. Then, at once, I feel unworthy to internalize all you’ve been through, all Christ went through. Except, then again, that’s the wonderful miracle of salvation. It all fits together so beautifully because we all are one in Christ.

    Your Father did not disown you upon learning you had become a Christian, because he is a man of love and understanding, albeit deceived and misguided. However, he had no choice but to disown you once it was known that you worked with Shin Bet for 9 years. I reflect on how painful that moment of realization must have been for him, given your close relationship.

    Thank God for your courage to escape Islam, accept Christ, and do so in relative secrecy. Now your Father, no matter his obvious tolerance for your choice to follow Christ, has a much more daunting task to take your same path. He, no doubt is conflicted by your witness. That’s the Spirit of the true and powerful God working through your testimony. What path does he have? So carefully watched, so doubted due to your actions, and so responsible for all of his family that may or may not have similar convictions. I pray for your family as I pray for you.

    It’s 4 a.m. here. I finished your book 4 hours ago and don’t expect I’ll sleep tonight. May God bless you richly. Your story has impacted me deeply on many fronts. Not the least of which is a better understanding, tolerance, and love for people I know want to kill me in the name of Allah, or greed, or power. We are entering the storm God prophesied and I believe we will need every bit of courage we can muster to continue to love our enemies as we are commanded.

    Your brother in Christ,

  22. I have just read your amazing and fascinating book and talked about it to all of my friends. I am a practicing Roman Catholic and I feel sure that God has blessed the work you have done, likey long before even you realized. Thank you for writing this book, for setting straight the harm that SOME Palestinians are doing to their own countrymen and for working with Israelis who realize that peace can exist if people will only work at it. Thank you again for the book. You are an amazing person and I will pray for you each day as well as praying for the two solitudes you have embraced.

  23. mosab
    Im sorry for you because you lost everything for money og sex,sham you.I have read your book,you have psychopersonality disorder.

    • Ahmed,

      None of us on this site pity nor feel sorry for Mosab as you state it. We might feel sorry for you because you don’t know the love of God as Mosab understands & cherishes. He didn’t do all that he did for sex or money, but to help fight terrorism & hate. He not only saved Israelis but Palestinians.
      He’s telling the truth in all respects. You should be ashamed for speaking of what you know nothing about.
      How much do you really know about “Islam”? True Islam? What or how most Ababs practice in the Asian countries. Because is certainly is not what most Muslims in the states try to tell us it is. It’s the exact opposite.

      It would do you well to research the documented history of Israel, Palestine, Arabs & Islam. You might learn something of truth. The actual word “Allah” in ancient times meant “moon goddess”. That’s an idol. Not God. If you aren’t afraid to know the truth, then seek it. Also read the teachings of Jesus Christ. He teaches the real meaning of love, tolerance, & peace. I’ll bet you’re too scared to do this either.

      This site is for those who trust in Mosab & care for his safety & that of his family. Those who want the truth & believe in God. IF you don’t understand this, then go away. And don’t post comments that others are unable to read. That only shows how rude you are.

  24. Great job Mosab, i liked a lot your book! God Bless you, your family and the whole West Bank!
    With Love in Jesus,
    Helton Leite from Brazil!

  25. Mosab, I wanted to say thank God for people like you. I got to hear your message at my church yesterday in Fontana and I must say, although your message is always something I felt in my heart, you are a living testimony that good does prevail over evil. Praise God! I loved how you said that it’s not for you or us to say that christians are better than muslims, but it’s our job as followers of Christ to share the good news with them, to help lift the veil from their faces, so that they could have eyes to see our Father’s face, ears to hear His voice and to receive His grace and lover. To become into a relationship with the Father, not to be stuck in a religious ideology of hatred. You are a very courageous man and God bless you and may He help your voice be heard all over the world!

  26. Ahmed,

    I have read many comments from Muslims (I guess you are Muslim?) on here and on YouTube. Basically the comments follow the same line — insult the person, say they know nothing of Islam, then insult them again.

    But remember: an insult is NOT an argument. It is an insult, or in football terms, you are playing the man, not the ball.

    Muslims should be honest. If they cannot provide Mosab with a decent and reasoned answer, then say nothing.

    As the proverb says: Better to close your mouth and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it.

    • Rob
      Im not insult mosab for nothing.he is big leir .I liv in this region and i know everything about this konflict.he is not speaking true at all.I kan understand at he is loving his enemy,but i couldnt understand why he is hating his country and palastines.ONLY folish like you kan agree with him .you said insult is not argument,så why you isult me ???

  27. I just got your book yesterday and started it this morning. Had to find out if you were granted asylum, praise God!

    Many of us are agreeing with God for Israel and for the sake of the fathers. Gods gifts and callings are irrevocable. Romans 11:25-29.

    He is rasing up 24/7 houses of prayer all over the world. We are being filled with such excitement and amazement at what he is doing in peoples lives. He is a good God.

    May Holy Spirit continue to give you boldness to preach the good news. May you be filled with His Love.

    We will interceed for your family in prayer.

    There is a brother in the Lord I would like to connect you with if you would like to email me. Not sure how wise it is to post. I don’t know him personally but I was at a meeting last Friday and heard him speak.


  28. Mosab,
    Although I was aware of your story and had sent a letter to Kerri C. to plead for a sane approach to your deportation hearing, I had not read your book until now. I just want to share a few responses:
    1.I have been a Christian for 35 years and have always been interested in what was happening in the Middle East. Your book did more to broaden my understanding of events there than anything I’ve ever read. One thing it accomplished for me is that it “put a face” on the Palestinian people; deepening my ability to see their humanity and their need to know the love of Jesus.
    2. As your story unfolded, I could see that so many of the best qualities of your father have been formed in you; and those very qualities are part of how God is using you to effect peace and reconciliation.
    3. I know you are using your knowledge and background very actively to try to right wrongs and prevent injustice and share understanding, but I would encourage you to take care that you always keep that sweet, humble focus on knowing Jesus more and more deeply. Because paraphrasing what you stated at the end of your book, it’s no use trading one religion for another; it’s the living relationship with Jesus that anything good we do will come from.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

  29. Shalom Mosab,

    May our Lord Jesus Christ be with you for evermore!
    God Bless You.

    A friend.

  30. Mosab, thank you for changing the face of Palestinians for us… previously they had all appeared cowards that hide behind children and in hospitals.

    You are a brave man, chosen by Yeshua for such a time as this. We have prayed and will continue to pray for your safety and for His perfect will for your life.

  31. My dear brother in Christ, I started reading your book yesterday and couldn’t stop until I finished it today. I am crying for all the people that you wrote about; especially the lost ones. I am crying for you because you had to leave what was precious to you and start all over in a foreign country. What an incredible book of hope and faith and the love of God for sinners (of whom I was one of the greatest, until God saved me! Praise His holy Name)Your book has strengthened my faith in Jesus Christ.
    May the Lord bless you and watch, guard, and keep you: May He make His face shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor)to you; may He lift up His approving countenance upon you and give you peace (tranquility of heart and life continually).
    Annanie – South Africa

  32. Hello Mosab,

    I just finished your book & I am deeply moved by your courage, your love for your father, God’s mercy & protection over you & giving your all for our Savior. I am ashamed to say that often I struggle to love people in my church, never mind my enemies! I am thankful that you are able to stay in America, this great country that has been so richly blessed by God.

    “Instead of looking at me as a spiritual trophy, pray for me, that I will grow in my faith and that I won’t step on too many toes as I learn to dance with the Bridegroom.” – Mosab Hassan Yousef, ¬ (Son of Hamas p. 250) I love that quote! I pray that your heart stays soft & pliable in the hands of the Potter.

    Thank you for speaking boldly. It’s easy to be lulled into believing that Islam really is a peaceful religion. I’ve learned more about Islam from your book and blog than I ever knew before. God bless you, Mosab.

    May I pray for you?

    Jehovah Jireh,

    You are Mosab’s Provider. Spread your protection over him (Psalm 5:11) & keep him safe from all harm and evil. Give him words and wisdom that his enemies can neither resist or contradict (Luke 21:15). May he walk so closely with You that he will hear a voice behind him saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21) Go before him and may the glory of the Lord be his rear guard (Isaiah 58:8). Surround him with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7). At night, I pray that he will lie down and sleep in peace for You alone, O Lord, make him dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8). Rescue him, protect him, deliver & honor him (Psalm 91:14 & 15). We thank you Lord that no matter what, he belongs to You (Romans 14:8).

    In the strong Name of Jesus,

  33. Dear Mosab,

    Like most everyone making comments on all the articles you’ve written, I too have read your book. Finished it about a week ago, then passed it on to a friend. It seems your book has traveled the world & I hope it continues to do so.

    I keep you & your family in my prayers nightly. I ask God to bless everyone who supports you on the blog & elsewhere. I also pray that Israel will somehow protect your family still in the midst of all the violence surrounding them. You did so much for the Shin Bet on behalf of all people in the land you love, so I hope they realize this & help your mother, brothers & sisters. I know not if your father is still in custody but he also stays in my prayers. He will never stop loving you. In his heart he is so proud. Believe that if nothing else.

    I keep trying to think of ways to help Muslims who so strongly believe in the Islam violence. If they only knew the teachings of Jesus Our Lord & knew the peace of his love, so much would change in all the muslim countries. The leaders of those countries care not for their people, only for greed & power. All the people need liberty, love & peace. Maybe someone will come up with ideas to help start that movement. I know that your book has touched many & in turn they are spreading the word to others. May these seeds spread far & wide into love & God.

    God Bless & Keep You Safe

  34. your testimony gave me hope as a new jewish believer in christ
    i wish to see you here in my hometown in Israel one day

    thank you

    In Yeshua’s name

  35. My dear brother in Chr-st, Mosab,
    After reading your book, I have committed before G-d, to pray for you every day. I pray for your growth in the knowledge of G-d’s great love for you; I pray for your safety; I pray for your ministry to your G-d, your homeland, your people, and your family.
    Every blessing in Chr-st,

  36. Great Info! But I’m having some trouble trying to load your blog. 🙂

  37. Both Jews and Muslims face ostracism when they announce their conversion to Christianity. Such a decision requires great faith and courage. God has chosen you for a reason, and this book may only be one part of the plan He has for you. Peace between Israel and their neighbors has been elusive for many centuries. Perhaps it may happen in our lifetime. I can only pray for those who live in fear each day.

  38. Dear friend,

    I am so grateful that you are fighting the good fight and that there are so many brothers and sisters and friends that encourage you on your blog.
    Haven’t read from you in a while and I guess you’re just trying to have a life and following Jesus in your daily routines.
    I can imagine that you don’t want to be considered as a trophy, as something perfectly brilliant, everyone has his challenges. I face plenty of them, even though I have such a loving family and a pretty normal life.
    But I have to say how precious you are to me. I love Muslims. I admire their devotion and obedience. And I see such great potential God has laid in this very culture although their ways lead them into such dense fog that they do not know the caracter of God’s voice.
    The testimonies of former Muslims just lead me to worship as I see the multiple and miraculous ways our Abba touches his children.
    I have listened to many of your speaking on videos that can be found on the internet to learn how to pray more precisely for needs and areas to be delivered. That Muslims strive forward to see the truth, are eager to obtain knowledge, and are blessed with the spirit to discern every influence.

    I am so happy that Jesus is trustworthy and stands by your side in any spiritual combat that comes up. How hard it is often for us to fight by love and patience, when we want to see action and the barriers seem high.

    I’m impressed by the fruits of your faith that are among others humility and honesty. May Jesus bless me also with his humility.
    I am a bit of a dreamer, having always big visions that are hard to be seen realized and I do struggle with having the right desires for my life. But as anyone I’m trying to be obedient and devoted for his peoples!

    Hopefully you could just be encouraged with one sentence of this email.
    Greetings from Germany!

    May the God of Abraham, Israel and Jacob
    and Jesus Christ, the living word that came so close
    and the Holy Spirit that purifies and teaches you from the inside
    bless you!

  39. Dear Mosab,

    I read your book on the recommendation of my pastor. Even though I have read other books about what really happens “behind the veil” as it were in Islam, I was still shocked and surprised by the horrors you described in your book. I appreciate the honest and straightforward way in which you presented everything, however, without seeking to make it appear worse or better than it really is. I also appreciate your insights into the mindset of the Middle Easterner, particularly those of militant Islamic persuasion.

    There is no doubt in my mind that you were placed where you were by God, as you assert in your book. I was blessed to read of the cleansing, converting work that the teachings of Jesus did in your life over the years. I have been a Christian for most of my life, and I am still learning to be amazed at the mighty power of our God. I would also like to say that you are a credit to the Christian faith, even if you are still learning. 🙂 Thank you for having the courage to tell your story, and for your obvious and unshakable faith in our God. May He continue to bless you as you serve Him!

    In the Lord,

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