“I was born in Iran and I came to Israel as a young girl. I lived with my parents in Jerusalem. I married at a very young age and after a short time I decided I wanted to get divorced. I was alone and lived with my parents; after a long while my parents convinced me to go find work as a cashier in a supermarket.”
Normally work is a good thing but here Avital met her downfall. She met a boy named Avi at least that's how he introduced himself in the beginning. He was young and seemed very refined. Avital says that from the first minute she knew that he had what I was looking for. “We used to go out after work together and it turned serious very quickly. We’d spend a lot of time together and one day he said “I'd like you to meet my parents.”
It was only at that point that Avital finally realized that he never told her about his family. She used ask where they live but he always avoided the question. He said “just come”. As soon as she entered the car that's when her life began to turn around totally. Avital understood only then that they were driving to the Arab villages outside Jerusalem and only then she realized Avi wasn't even Jewish. But Avi stopped the car and put on his gentle face and gave her a gift. He promised her it would be only a short visit and they would return right away. Avital was convinced. “It was difficult for me to understand that on one hand he was so nice and on the other hand he wasn't Jewish.”
“The family visit was reasonable. They were waiting for me and we sat together and they served food. They looked at me from head to toe and they tried to be nice. Avi’s father came over to me and said that whenever I need a car I can take a car and borrow it. Avi took me back home and I stayed stuck with my confused thoughts.”
Avital didn’t tell anyone about her new relationship. “Looking back I could see that there was something really wrong. I'm an intelligent young lady, you can just pull a fast one on me and I also heard many terrible stories about girls going into Arab villages and never getting out. But I convinced myself that right now my relationship doesn't obligate me yet and maybe it's only temporary and why should I get into pressure. I felt that I'm not supposed to make over-generalities and fall into stereotypes. The boy that I liked and his family are not like the rest of them therefore I kept it quiet and didn't even tell my parents. I didn't want them to convince me to break up the relationship.”
“Very quickly we paid more visits to Avi’s family in his village, again and again until one day his family proposed that we should stay there and we'll get a wing of the house built on just for us. “We will give them everything” Avi’s mother promised to Avital, “you could even work in the family business and make a lot of money and your husband could also work there, you won’t lack for anything.”
Avital couldn’t refuse and she convinced herself that everything is only temporary and doesn't obligate her and she could always back out. They went to live in their house in the village but everything turned around. Avital discovered the family was very sly and underhanded. “They actually did include me in the family business but they never paid one shekel. They said: “we give you food and a place to sleep be happy with that.” That's how I became totally dependent on them for everything I did in my life.”
In the next stage they treated her with open hatred. “Every time Ibrahim (formerly Avi) left the house his mother would curse me with terrible hate filled words and she would throw things at me.” Avital says “they had such hate for me in their eyes that it was awful. The shouts in the house intolerable they would shout on top of the lungs at me, they just hated me. They cursed me without end and I could never say a word in Hebrew only in Arabic.”
And how did Ibrahim himself treat you?
“Ibrahim had good days and bad days but most of the time he just sided with his family and treated me just like they did. I had to stay in my in my room most of the time, I was alone. “A few months after I went to the village I had a baby daughter. I gave birth at home. I begged them to take me to the hospital but they refused to take me. My daughter was born without any medical attention, without pain killers or anything.”
A year past and Avital had another daughter. “By this point staying anymore became unthinkable. I understood that I just can't continue this way. What hurt me the most was that Ibrahim’s family would come into my room every morning and would take my daughters out for the day and start teaching them about Islam. They would only bring them back in the evening. This caused me so much pain and I didn't have anybody to cry to.”
The bold rescue.
One day a strange thing happened. The whole family left the house for something. It was then Avital made telephone contact with the head of the Hidabroot intermarriage unit through a friend that gave her the phone number. She called them up crying emotionally. She was afraid that any moment the family would come back and discover her.
From that moment things moved very quickly. The organization called her and told her that she should be ready at a certain day and they would take her out. “They told me you're not alone, there is a whole organization standing behind you and that encouraged me very much.” The day approached and they told me: “don't take anything just yourself and your daughters; we will take care of the rest.” “I didn't understand how I'm going to get out of the house with nobody seeing me. I was terrified; there were moments that I felt that I was ready to give up and not be saved but they kept on convincing me from Hidabroot that if I don't leave now I won’t have another chance and I'll be stuck in the village rest of my life. They gave me a lot of strength.”
“On the day of my rescue they called me up and as agreed they said that they're on their way. They told me to tell Ibrahim then I'm going to take a little ride with the girls and I should take the car keys. I told him I'm going out for a little ride. I'm not going anywhere. You see even your car is with me it's a sign that I'm coming back.”
From the moment she left the village the Hidabroot messengers took them to a very far part of Israel. They told me I have nothing to worry about, they're going to return the car and everything's going to be fine.
How did you feel?
“I felt unbelievable pressure, I almost couldn't breathe. I hugged my daughters tight I was so scared. Only when we got to the safe house and I realized that nobody knows where I am I understood that I'm totally free and I could start relaxing”. At the apartment Avital and her daughters were received by Hidabroot organization members living there that took care of everything she needed. “Even today they don't leave me,” Avital says with much appreciation. “My daughters learn in a Jewish kindergarten, I started working and you can say I was totally born a new.”
“Only after the whole at rescue operation finished, the organization told Avital the astounding story that happened behind the scenes. At the same time that she was being rescued, Hidabroot Rabbis were doing a lecture circuit in various countries. A Persian Jew came over to a rabbi with a big fat envelope full of money and he said: “I want you to use this money to save a Jewish young lady from intermarriage.” They took that money and used it for all of Avital’s expenses.
This past Purim was very emotional for Avital as it’s about a year since she was freed. “I was freed from the evil ropes that tied me down. Without a doubt I would have disappeared or maybe they would have even killed me in the village. And who saved me? Another Persian Jew just like me! I'm a Persian Jew! How can I not be excited about G-d’s amazing Divine Providence that loves me and protects me?”
In Israel: If you know women in similar trouble or starting a similar potentially harmful relationship please call 052-995-1591 or 073-222-1333 for assistance. Discretion is assured.