Jonny Gould’s Jewish State

137: Loay Alshareef in London: "It’s bad news for the enemies of peace”

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Loay Alshareef has been on quite a journey. Growing up in Saudi Arabia and brought up a religious Moslem, he was exposed to antisemitic schooling about Israel and the Jews.

“Jews are the fierce enemies of the Arabs and you shouldn’t have them as friends. Christians too. But first, Jews.” 

Loay was part of a generation of young Saudis who stood no chance. Isolated from the world, taught to hate. It still goes on - although less so. 

But the poisoning of his young mind was challenged when he visited France with the Accord school, a homestay program in Paris so he could learn French.

He was housed with a Jewish family. 

Initially he refused, preferring to be with a Tunisian Arab family. But in the end, he stayed with the Jewish family. 

His host Rachelle of Yemeni tradition said, “stay with us a couple more days”, and so began a journey to conciliation. But it started with confusion. 

These people are nothing like what he’d been told. Rachelle was a good person, so were the Koranic texts about Jews wrong? 

Loay was introduced to “The Protocols of the elders of Zion” at 15 and was told it was a book brought in from Egypt as a text “the Jews don’t want you to read”. 

Two weeks and two Shabbats later, Rachelle took him Kosher shopping.

He was included in Pesach and Chanukah celebrations, a first hand education in Judaism. 

He went home, told his mum. Mum said” I’ll give you two months, you’ll come to your senses!”. 14 years on, it was the catalyst to a new world and mum supports his stance on social media.

Loay travels the world as an ambassador for his country of residence, the UAE and for Muslims. 

He tweets in Ivrit as a fluent speaker, quotes the Torah and Tanach and wants to pursue a PHD in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

It’s a pleasure to have spent hours and hours in Loay’s company. We talk candidly with the tape on and off.

I try to get my head round the tribal differences between the Arabs, it gives me a headache, especially when he says even the Qataris want Israel to win the War in Gaza and I ask him about the UAE’s support for the South African case against Israel in the International Court of Justice.

It’s a frank and fascinating discussion with one of the Gulf’s most important voices.

Jonny Gould's Jewish State is proudly supported by Dangoor Education.

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