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Nobody’s Children

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Anat Gopstein’s latest column in the Shabbat weekly Gilui Da’at:

Nobody’s Children

“Anat, I just can’t anymore. I’m not capable of functioning since the girl disappeared, I’m really worried, I don’t sleep, don’t eat, don’t work, I’m dying of worry, where is my girl?!,” a mother told me this week, choking on her tears.

She was referring to a 15 y.o. girl, high risk, living in a closed institution on a court order, the state being responsible for her welfare. She ran away from the boarding school, and ever since, the family has no day or night.

Last Friday, after 5 days during which she went missing, the girl sent a message to her mother that she’s fine and not to worry, and said Shabbat Shalom to her. The mother was not calmed. She knows that running away endangers the girl. The fracture of the parents is hard to contain and so is the helplessness of the police and welfare authorities in light of this horrific phenomenon. Just this week, 5 girls at risk were classified as missing. These are girls for whom every minute outside is dangerous for them. From our experience, most of the girls at risk are exploited by Arab criminals, who are dangerous criminals that law enforcement authorities don’t touch, and there is total lawlessness. At the time of writing these lines, we are worried and hope the girl returns safely home.

Besides the 15 y.o. girl, there are two other girls who also disappeared this week from the boarding school where they live in a closed institution. These are girls from the settlements in Judea and Samaria who connected with an Arab criminal and were moved by him to Area A, an area in Judea and Samaria where entrance to Jews is forbidden.

Beyond the sexual exploitation these girls experience, there also exists here a real security danger. The Arab, as was mentioned, is a known dangerous criminal. He puts up videos on his TicToc account of being together with the girls, as the responses coming in to those videos include curses, threats and calls to slaughter and hang the Jewish girls.

From the moment I got the call for help to find the girls, I followed our regular procedure: Setting up a situation room with the journalist Elchanan Gruner of the “HaKol HaYehudi” site, and other people who have expertise in the area of locating missing persons, and together we tried to locate the girls. At the same time, we contacted members of the Knesset, among them Itamar Ben Gvir, so that they could contact the IDF and the police and make efforts to locate the girls. After three whole days of worrying, we got a message that the girls have been returned to their boarding school. But the criminal is at peace; he even managed to threaten an IDF soldier this week and harass her, and in all of his photos, he appears with guns. But apparently this does not interest the law enforcement authorities.

*

The phenomenon of missing girls and teenagers should first and foremost worry the welfare authorities, who are responsible for their welfare. To our sorrow, the office is apathetic on this matter. Already in 2004, a Knesset committee put the subject on the agenda and strong words were spoken, but nothing has changed. These unfortunate girls have been, and always will be, nobody’s children. This is a matter of life and death, and mutual responsibility among the Jewish people obliges us to think about what would have happened if it were our daughter, and to act accordingly.

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