Nasreen Yousef, who saved town from terrorists, gives up Independence Day torch-lighting due to threats

Nasreen Yousef. (Screenshot taken from Channel 12/Keshet TV, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law).
Nasreen Yousef. (Screenshot taken from Channel 12/Keshet TV, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law).

Nasreen Yousef, chosen to light a torch at the Independence Day ceremony thanks to her actions to save her community on October 7, says she will not accept the honor due to threats to her life and her family.

Yousef, a Druze woman, helped to prevent a bloodbath in her community on the southern Gaza border on October 7 by using her native Arabic to convince terrorists that she would give them money and smuggle them out, while she gathered critical intelligence and passed it to the IDF.

“Due to threats, she has decided with great pain to withdraw her candidacy from the honor,” reads a statement on Yousef’s behalf sent to the committee in charge of the ceremony.

Speaking to Channel 12, Yousef says that “this is our country and we will continue to protect it regardless of whether we light a beacon or not.”

“I think there are people who deserve this more than me, and I want to protect my family and myself,” she says.

Transportation Minister Miri Regev, who oversees the ceremony, says in a statement that she was “sorry to hear about Nasreen’s decision to withdraw her candidacy due to threats to her life and the lives of her family.”

However, an official from the woman’s community, Yated, told the Ynet news site that while Yousef assisted in the efforts to save the town, “details were added that did not happen,” implying that there may have been some exaggeration.

The Independence Day ceremony traditionally features a torch-lighting portion in which 12 Israelis who are considered exemplary citizens are chosen to light a torch.

This year’s torch lighters were selected for their “heroism” on or in relation to October 7, when Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, killing nearly 1,200 people and taking 252 hostages.

The “rescuers” torch will be lit by civilians who acted outstandingly on that day.

In addition to Yousef, the torch-lighters chosen were Youssef Elziadna, a Bedouin minibus driver from Rahat who saved 30 people from the Nova Festival while one family member of his was killed and four were abducted; Rabbi Shahar Botzhek from Ofakim, who fought against Hamas terrorists even after being injured; and Rami Davidian from Moshav Patish, who led rescue missions on October 7 that saved over 700 people.

Independence Day starts this year on the eve of May 13.

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