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Hidden in a Hijab

Chaya Yankelevitz

We’ve all heard the tragic saga of Jewish girls who married Arabs — how they were held hostage in their own homes, beaten, despised. Yet the gates of teshuvah are never locked. Some of these girls flee their husbands and rejoin Jewish communities. What awaits them once they return?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

“I got the blow of my life,” said Sharona, whose daughter Galit married an Israeli Arab. “I pray that no other Jewish mother should know such terrible pain. This was my little girl in whom I invested my soul to raise her with love. Then to have her turn away from my entire world…” Sharona’s shock was genuine, as she didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late. “He told Galit his mother was Jewish. As soon as I met him, I immediately realized he couldn’t be Jewish. I fought a lot with Galit, tried to do everything to stop it, but I wasn’t successful. “Besides the agony of betrayal, there was also the tremendous humiliation. A disgrace for the whole family! The rest of our family completely cut off contact with Galit. Her only brother, a man with a respectable job, hid the ugly blight so no one would find out about it. Galit’s father didn’t speak to her for seven years, until she returned home. “I knew they were right to cut off contact, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to abandon my daughter,” Sharona says remembering those years with tremendous pain. “I kept in close contact with her in order to protect her. I was afraid of her husband. I knew their culture isn’t normal and that he could harm her. I’d ask her, ‘Galit, you won’t hide anything from me, right?’ And she’d say, ‘No, Ima, of course not, everything’s fine.’ Yet I knew very well that everything was far from fine. “He threatened her that if she complained, he’d murder me and my mother. But I saw she was acting strangely. Depressed. She started taking antidepressants, but the situation just got worse.”  Galit’s story eventually did have a happy ending as she finally made it back home. The family held a large seudas hoda’ah, official peace was made, and since then, they’ve all been amazingly supportive of her and her children. Yet the wounds don’t just disappear.

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