By SAMANTHA GROSS (Associated Press Writer)
Associated Press

NEW YORK – Khaled Abdul-Wahab was shy about his past, but the Tunisian would have been proud to be the first Arab nominated to receive an honor reserved for those who saved Jews during the Holocaust, his daughter said.

“He wouldn’t have looked for it,” Faiza Abdul-Wahab said of her father. But, she said, “he would have been very proud.”

Faiza Abdul-Wahab appeared Wednesday at Manhattan’s Yeshiva University with the grown daughter of one of the girls her father rescued in the early 1940s, when he hid more than 20 Jews during the Nazi occupation of Tunisia. The New York event followed her father’s posthumous nomination in January for recognition as “Righteous Among the Nations” in Israel.

Without Khaled Abdul-Wahab, Nadia Bijaoui said, her mother likely would not have survived World War II.

“That’s what your father did, Faiza,” Bijaoui said to her counterpart. “He loved his neighbor like he loved himself.”

The women met for the first time last week, united in part by the work of Robert Satloff, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who researched the families’ stories and nominated Khaled Abdul-Wahab for the Israeli high honor.