The latest from Benzi’s “Behind the Flames” column in Matzav HaRuach:
A glimpse into the inferno
This week we successfully completed a documentary project of testimonials by a number of girls who were in relationships with Arabs and ended them after turning to the Lehava organization for help. In this column we will briefly bring you the story of one of them, but first of all, it’s important to emphasize: Not one of these girls is a street girl, a girl at risk or has limitations. These are 3 girls from excellent families from the Religious Zionist movement; the type that no one would believe would ever go out with Arabs.
“I’ve always wanted to do meaningful national service”, Hagit (assumed name) opens her story. “This was a sense of mission, a desire to donate something to the Jewish people, and most importantly, to give back something from what I received. It was clear to me that my national service would be done in a hospital, and that my volunteer work would not just be for the sick, but also for myself on the personal level”. When she was accepted into a hospital department, and when she realized that she was going to work in an environment saturated with men, she drew up some boundaries: To approach and connect with the girls in the department, and with the boys she would keep relations professional only. Among the boys was Hassan, an Arab nurse who worked in the department.
But the huge number of hours of work she shared with men did its thing, and the boundaries started blurring. She started speaking with everyone, but more than anyone else, with Hassan. “I simply began to fall in love with him. I didn’t know how or why. He was really a great guy then, always knew how to say a good word, make me laugh”, she says. Things rolled along. She finished her national service and began working in the hospital as a clerk. The two of them went to live together, and one day Hassan arrived with a festive declaration: I’ll convert so we can get married. Hagit relates: “When we decided to get married, a world war broke out with my parents. I told them I’d been going out with a non-Jewish boy for awhile, and that he’ll convert before the wedding. They were unwilling to listen. My mother told me, ‘You’re leaving him now. What, there are no Jewish boys?’ I simply told them, if they don’t want to, then don’t come to the wedding.”
The most expected of all, happened: Hassan didn’t convert, and they got married in a Sharia court. After the wedding, Hagit discovered the big secret: Her husband suffered from manic depression. How did this influence his treatment of her?
Here’s an example. Hold on tight: “There were nights when he would simply leave me outside and lock the door, and I stayed outside in the cold. All night I slept in the stairwell of the yeshiva, with my arms around my knees.”
Today, Hagit is no longer with Hassan. Her case came to our knowledge, and we took care of her with devotion, love and warmth. We supplied her with a place to live, a rehab program, suitable mental treatment and legal aid for divorced.
Hagit’s full story, you can watch in the near future on a video where she tells all. In the spirit of these days, we will conclude by saying that our girls are holy and that we have no right to despair of them. Hagit’s story is the story of hundreds and thousands of girls in distress, and each one of them is a candle – a holy candle, and our job is to make sure each one of those candles continues to burn.
Chanuka Sameach and Shabbat Shalom.
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LEHAVA - Preventing Asimilation
In light of the growing severity of assimilation in the country, several community organizations have focused their energy, for many years, to save Jewish girls. We have established an organization named Lehava which fights assimilation in the Holy Land. Together, the experienced leadership of Lehava has made it their mission to reach these girls, before they reach villages and are gone.