Mika wants to share what she went through so other Jewish girls and women don’t make her mistake
Mika’s life was never great. She suffered already when a young girl. “My house had both violence and poverty. At age 9 I already had to work to help with our family’s livelihood. In reality, I was never a child that enjoyed a regular childhood… I grew up before my time” says Mika
Mika’s family moved to Israel from the Ukraine when she was 12 in 1997. But life in Israel didn’t improve her lot at all. “My mother got sick in the Ukraine and moving to Israel aggravated her illness to the point they needed to amputate one of her legs. For 2 years she spent most of her time in hospitals with my father next to her. We the children were left alone; there was no one to look after us. I was a teen age girl still trying to get used to Israel and learn the language without my mother or father, alone.”
These hardships created fertile soil for more trouble. “Ali was 28, 14 years older than me. I like most ‘olim’ (immigrants to Israel) from the eastern bloc were not aware of the Arab-Israeli conflict. We had no idea what Arabs were and what Palestinian Arabs were. There was no one around to warn me but even if there would have been someone to warn me it’s not certain I’d have listened.”
Mika sighs and continues: “It all started when I asked him for a cigarette. I was in the park with other girlfriends instead of being in school and he was sitting there. I saw a pack of cigarettes sticking out of his pocket so I asked him for one.”
Since that moment he never left Mika alone. “He followed me and figured out where I live and would make overtures to me with a lot of sweet talk. It was very pleasant. There really was no one else to say kind words to me or pay any attention to me at all. I was alone and abandoned when suddenly someone took an interest in me and wanted to be in my company.”
After a nice start the future looked promising to Mika. “We went out for 5 months in which he was very fatherly to me, protective and shielding. He was exactly what I needed. He made an impression on me as a kindhearted person. He even helped out my mother when she was at home wheelchair bound. She died suddenly and here too, he was there for me to lean on.”
Later on my sister went to a dormitory and my brother and I remained at home. My father was broken from my mother’s death and he would get drunk. Our difficult financial situation impacted our relationship and how he treated us. He wanted me to pay for my staying at home to support myself and he didn’t care how. Later he married another woman who managed to drive a wedge between me and my father making us fight even more. My father ended up throwing me out of the house without money or anything. I had no family to turn to for help.
The journey to Ali’s house was really short after this. “I had nowhere else to go besides him. He took advantage of that; my innocence and my poor command of Hebrew and he proposed to me. “Just say a few words in court and then we can live together happily” he promised. Only much later did I understand what those few words were… they were a declaration that I want to become a Muslim, which I said without even knowing what I was saying,” Mika says with a shudder.