The at-risk girl who ran away a month ago has returned | Anat Gopstein: “It’s about time the state takes responsibility”
After she went missing for over a month, and in fear for her life: 17-year-old Galit Zohari went back to her family * Anat Gopstein: “The time has come to close the Mesila home”
Yedidya Grossman, Yemanim 15/10/20
Galit Zohari, the 17 y.o. girl who disappeared about a month ago, with a real fear for her life, this morning (Thursday) returned to her family on her own, without any help from the police.
Zohari ran away from the “Mesila” home for girls, located on Moshav Ora, next to Jerusalem, due to the disgraceful and contemptuous treatment she received there. After she went missing for awhile, the family turned to the Lehava organization out of concern that Zohari was with Arabs in the Judea-Samaria area, in light of incidents occurring in the past, when she was found in Palestinian villages in those areas.
Last week the police asked for the public’s assistance in searching for her. This morning, as stated, Galit decided to return to her family and got in touch with her father. In coordination with Anat Gopstein, the Lehava organization’s head of treatment, and Revaya Ohana, the legal advisor for the organization, the four met up in Jerusalem.
Lehava’s legal advisor, Atty. Revaya Ohana, will today submit a request for a court order to remove Galit from the “Mesila” home, due to the serious trauma caused to Galit as a result of her stay there, and as was stated, that caused her to run away from there and disappear for a long time.
Galit’s father disclosed after his daughter’s return: “I would like to thank the Lehava organization, which accompanied us throughout this difficult period of Galit’s disappearance and agreed to help find her by all means. I’m happy Galit has come back, and I hope that from now on her life will be totally happy. I would also like – and demand – that a place suitable for her needs be found for my daughter.”
Anat Gopstein, head of Lehava’s treatment department, stated: “I want to thank MK Yossi Taieb of the Shas faction, who made tremendous effort to help handle the incident. It’s about time the State of Israel take responsibility for girls at risk and stop giving up on them.”
Gopstein added that “Galit didn’t just run away from the ‘Mesila’ home. That’s a home where instead of rehabilitating the lives of the girls who come to it, it only makes them worse. In spite of the critical report by the State Ombudsman in 2019, which described the faulty, botched-up conduct of the home, nothing was done, and the Ministry of Welfare fell asleep standing up. If there’s no intention to fix the defects there, the time has come to close it. We will do everything so that Galit doesn’t have to go back to the hell of Mesila and so that she can travel the high road in her life.”
(note from Dina: Anat also posted on her own FB page: Galit: “It’s bad for me at Mesila, I was in a lot of distress so I ran away. They don’t talk there, they just punish. I’m willing to be anywhere, anywhere, just not at Mesila.”
Anat: After she disappeared for a month and a half, we’re bringing back Galit Zohari. At the moment, we’re with her at the police station and waiting for someone from the system to hear Galit’s cry.
(in photo, left to right: Atty. Revaya Ohana, Galit Zohari (back seat), Anat Gopstein (driver’s seat)
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.