Mahamid has Holocaust photos at his office
The new Yad Vashem Holocaust museum
Photo: Dan Balilti
TEL AVIV - While foreign heads of state, dignitaries and guests gathered in Jerusalem Tuesday for the opening of Israel's new Holocaust museum, Khaled Mahamid opened the first Arab institute for Holocaust research and teaching.
Mahamid, a lawyer by trade, told Ynet he believes the lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among Arabs fuels the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"I'm paying the price for this lack of knowledge," he says. "Israel's existence is premised on the memory of the Holocaust, while the Palestinians deny it."
If the Palestinians were made aware of the horrors that took place during the Holocaust, the conflict would end within a few days, he says.
'Both Arabs and Jews are Semites'
When asked what an Arab from Nazareth has in common with the massacre of six million Jews, Mahamid said that besides being a human being pained by the massacre, he realizes both Jews and Arabs are Semites.
"There is a common thread that connects us, whether we want it to, or not," he says.
The lack of knowledge and a curiosity to understand the tragedy is what brought him to write academic papers about the Holocaust, in the framework of his studies, and to incessantly read about the subject, he says.
"The State of Israel bears most of the guilt for our ignorance," he says." Unfortunately, the Education Ministry's curriculum for Arab schools does not include Holocaust studies in its framework."
This lack of knowledge, he says, also prompts illogical statements, such as "what the Germans did to the Jews is what they (Jews) are doing to the Palestinians."
"Whoever knows what happened during the time of Nazi Germany understands that sentence is ridiculous, but it stems from a lack of basic information," he says.
Holocaust photos hanging at the office
Mahamid started gathering information by purchasing photographs depicting images from the Holocaust. These photos hang on the wall of his office.
He also put together a booklet with photos and Holocaust information in Arabic, established a foundation on the matter, and even approached the Education Ministry in a bid to provide lectures and screen movies in Arab schools.
Mahmid has personally financed this initiative, but says he hopes others will take an interest and understand the importance of donating money and resources to his cause.
"Gaining an understanding of the horror of what happened will bring about peace between the two nations," he says.