Meet Hussein Jaber, an Israeli Arab who plays a critical in the Passover holiday every year for millions of Jews in the Holy Land.
By: The Algemeiner, with additional reporting from United with Israel Staff
Ahead of Passover, the Hebrew weekly newspaper Makor Rishon interviewed Hussein Jaber — a 53-year-old married father of four from the Arab town of Abu Ghosh — who is known for “buying” all of Israel’s “chametz” every year.
Chametz is the Hebrew word for leavened products–from bread to all sorts of other goods– which Jews are forbidden to eat or even own during Passover. Based on a legal procedure through which Jews can “sell” their chametz to non-Jews, Jaber buys the chametz of every Jew in Israel prior to the festival of Passover each year. The procedure is accomplished via a transaction between Jaber and Israel’s chief rabbis, who represent the nation’s citizens.
While millions of Jews benefit from the service Jaber provides to the nation, few know much about the businessman and proud Israeli Arab.
A translated portion of Makor Rishon’s interview below provides insight into the man who helps Jews in Israel properly observe the Passover holiday each year.
Makor Rishon: An artist you like?
Jaber: Umm Kulthum, the Egyptian singer. She was followed by many fans in all of the Arab countries, with songs full of content. Not like today’s singers.
Makor Rishon: A figure who inspires you?
Jaber: Menachem Begin. He was an honest man and faithful to his principles and the country.
Makor Rishon: With whom would you like to sit for a beer or coffee?
Jaber: I don’t drink alcohol, but I would happily sit for a coffee with Donald Trump, the man who made it big even though no one believed in him. I would thank him for his courage to move the embassy to Jerusalem. Some were afraid of this, but he did it very easily. Afterward, I would ask him about his plans for the Middle East.
Makor Rishon: A song that moves you?
Jaber: “Hatikvah.” At events and ceremonies, when “Hatikvah” is sung and everyone stands, I am excited anew every time.
Makor Rishon: With what do you fall asleep?
Jaber: A newspaper. I’m very connected to politics in Israel and the world.
Makor Rishon: Recreation activity with the family?
Jaber: Trips in nature — it doesn’t matter where. In the Galilee, in the south, and also in Sinai and Sharm El Sheikh.
Makor Rishon: A dish you can’t resist?
Jaber: Mansaf — rice with mutton. My mother, of blessed memory, cooked the best mansaf. To my delight, my wife learned the recipe from her, and makes it just as well.
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