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Jordanian Boy Named Yitzhak Rabin to Join IDF

18-year-old granted Israeli citizenship after 16 years of residence in Israel

Lily Wilf
February 19, 2014
Yitzhak Rabin Namsy and his mother in March 1996. (Reuters)
Yitzhak Rabin Namsy and his mother in March 1996. (Reuters)

Nearly 20 years after his assassination, Yitzhak Rabin is back in the news. An 18-year-old Jordanian boy named after the late prime minister has been granted Israeli citizenship and permission to join the IDF after 16 years of residence in Israel, the Times of Israel reports.

The boy’s unusual name choice—meant to honor the Israeli leader’s role in the historic 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty with Jordan’s King Hussein—brought much animosity upon his family in Jordan. After emigrating from Jordan to Israel with his mother in 1998, the boy—whose full name is Yitzhak Rabin Namsy—was informally adopted by the prime minister’s widow Leah Rabin and granted ‘temporary resident’ status. Since her death in 2000, the young Yitzhak has been struggling to obtain Israeli citizenship, determined to join the Israeli army.

“I want to become an officer [in the army],” Namsy said in an interview in November, “and continue in the path of Yitzhak Rabin, may his memory be blessed.” Though born to a Muslim family, Namsy wears a yarmulke and observes Shabbat, but while his Israeli classmates were busy being drafted, Yitzhak was dealing with complicated citizenship petitions to the Israeli Interior Ministry that dragged on for years.

Now that Namsy has been approved to join the IDF, should we expect to see his name on the ballot sometime soon?

Lily Wilf is an editorial intern at Tablet.