A former Hamas terrorist-in-training told an Israeli news station of his brutal upbringing — including watching other children being beheaded and being forced to lie in graves to practice being a martyr — as he was indoctrinated by Hamas in Gaza during his childhood.
Yaron Abraham was born in Lod, an Israeli city near Tel Aviv, before he was transported to Gaza for Hamas jihadi training at one of the most “extreme” mosques in the region. Abraham later escaped and was taken in by an Israeli family, after which Abraham joined the Israeli military and converted to Judaism.
Abraham told his story in an interview on Channel 13 News. The interview was conducted in Hebrew. The Daily Wire obtained an English transcript of what was said.
Abraham lived in Lod until he turned 9. One of his sisters, the one he was closest with among his siblings, was murdered over “family honor,” he said.
“I started asking questions, wanting to understand what happened,” he said. His family, fearing he would “complicate things” for them if he stayed in Lod, sent Abraham to an extremist mosque in Gaza for his education.
At the mosque, Abraham underwent training to be a Shaheed, a religious martyr for Islam. The school day ran from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. His education began with memorizing the entire Quran, including Sharia law.
“From there, we started to understand what was the goal of this institution. What is the goal? To turn you into a Shaheed. They did not give us weapons; they didn’t give us knives; they were working on turning us into living weapons,” or suicide bombers, Abraham said.
A major part of the training focused on “overcoming the fear of death,” according to Abraham. Trainees were made to walk around cemeteries that contained the remains of suicide bombers to inspire children “to want to be like them.”
The instructors normalized death for the students.
“You live it every day and every night. What scares you is staying alive, sinning; God forbid wanting to live as a normal human being, someone who wants to get married and such things, to get to know what it means to be a child,” Abraham said.
Part of the instruction involved swift punishment for those found breaking rules.
“At the age of around 13 and a half, two kids were suspected of having relations between them, these two kids were beheaded in front of all of us,” he said.
“It’s not a world you’re familiar with. The religion of Islam sanctifies death, and the peak of this training is lying in an open grave. Try to imagine for a moment, close your eyes, lying in an actual open grave. About 30 or 40 students, teachers, etc., stand above your head, reading verses from the Quran so that you can feel that moment when you become a martyr. They lead you, angels guide you to a meeting with the Holy One, Blessed be He, all sorts of things like that,” Abraham continued.
Fundamentalist Muslim culture, he said, is severely misunderstood. It is not a democratic, liberal, or free culture “that you can get along with.” In fact, “this freedom, liberalism, democracy in the State of Israel is something terribly confusing for them. They don’t know what to do with it,” Abraham said.
“A Muslim comes and tells you, ‘Listen, I want to kill you because you’re Jewish. I have an issue with you.’ And then what do you say to him? ‘Come, listen, I’ll give you 5 billion shekels. Take it. Build schools,’ Abraham said. “And what does he say? ‘But I don’t want schools; your secular schools don’t interest me.’”
He explained that moderation in Islam is suppressed. If an Islamic leader decides to join in fighting against Israel, anyone in the community who resists or refuses to take part, “They will mark their houses in red as traitors. They will be the first whose houses will go up in flames,” Abraham said.
Eventually, Abraham fled from the mosque and returned to Lod. He stayed first with his family for two weeks before moving near an Israeli military base with a Muslim cemetery nearby. Near the cemetery, Abraham met a Jew for the first time. The man gave Abraham money and sent him on a bus to Eilat, where Abraham was adopted by a Jewish Israeli family.
After he grew older, Abraham joined the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and went back to Gaza to serve as a soldier in the Israeli military.
Going back to Gaza was “a nightmare on one hand, passing by those mosques, by those neighborhoods, going through the whole process,” Abraham said. “But there, I truly learned what the sanctity of life is, especially in the IDF.”
“I saw soldiers that I expected would go and kill, do whatever we wanted, destroy and murder, everything,” he said. “Instead, I see soldiers giving up their food to help children, I see soldiers coming and endangering themselves to help people cross the street, risking themselves to help people there. That’s the moment when I decided that I want to be part of the people of Israel.”