After Alan Kirsh, an Arab resident of Jerusalem, died in a tragic traffic accident on November 4, 2018, his grieving family swiftly made plans for his funeral. Instead, they were told that Mr. Kirsh could not be buried in a Muslim cemetery. His crime? Selling property to a Jew.

Local imams maintained that years earlier, he’d been accused of selling property to Jews, and that rendered him persona non grata. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Ekrima Said Sabi, referred to a 1935 fatwa, or Muslim religious ruling, issued by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem at that time, which declared “anyone who sells a home or land to Jews will not receive a Muslim burial.”

The Mufti who originated that ruling was Amin al-Husseini, a notorious Nazi and anti-Semite who spent most of World War II as an official guest of Adolf Hitler in Berlin. When he learned of a plan in 1943 to save some European Jewish children and send them to safety in Palestine in order to appease the Red Cross, he asked his German hosts to have the children murdered in Poland instead.

al-Husseini’s repugnant views continue today with the present Grand Mufti’s own fatwa, announcing “Whoever sells to the Jews in Jerusalem is not a member of the Muslim nation, we will not accept his repentance and he will not be buried in the Muslim’s cemetery.”

The Kirsh family appealed to bury their relative anyway but were rebuffed, first at Muslim cemeteries in Jerusalem and then in Ramallah.

Employees at the Zionist organization Im Tirzu learned of the Kirsh family’s plight and approached the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Aryeh Stern, to see if he could help.

Rabbi Stern decided that Alan Kirsh should be given a final resting place in a Jewish cemetery as a “righteous gentile.” He was interred in Har HaMenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem last week. “Since the Muslims will not bury him, we must correct the distortion of justice, that results in unjust humiliation of a man whose only sin was being prepared to sell land to Jews,” Rabbi Stern explained. “It is incumbent on us to honor a righteous gentile, and in this case a person who showed good will and was willing to take risks for” Jews in Israel today.

Alan Kirsh isn’t the only Arab in Israel today to be persecuted because he dared to do business with or to help Jews.

In November 2018, the Palestinian Authority’s Police Commander in Hebron, Col. Ahmed Abu al-Rub, was suspended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after he got out of his car to talk to Israeli soldiers whose truck had broken down in the middle of the road. According to eyewitnesses, Col al-Rub was driving in a convoy with Palestinian officials when they found the road blocked by an Israeli army truck.

Col. al-Rub got out of his car and asked what the matter was. When Israeli soldiers explained they had a flat tire, Col. al-Rub knelt down to take a look. That act of common humanity was enough to cost him his job. Some locals took photos of the police commander and circulated them on social media, excoriating him for appearing to help Israelis. Hamas, the terrorist organization that governs Gaza, issued a statement mocking Col. al-Rub, apparently sealing his fate. He was removed from duty and replaced with his deputy commander – for the “crime” of speaking civilly to Israelis and helping them figure out how to fix a broken down truck.

The world needs more people like Col. Ahmed Abu al-Rub and Alan Kirsh, people who refuse to bow to hatred and aren’t afraid to reach out to others who may be different from them. .