Woman Who Escaped Arab Village: 'I Haven't Seen My Daughters in More than Two Years'

Complicated case. Lawyer Avishai Grady
Complicated case. Lawyer Avishai Grady

A Jewish mother's battle to gain custody of her daughters is about to be decided in the courts.

The mother, C., aged 31, had a difficult upbringing. Her mother was handicapped and sent her away to boarding school at a young age. At 18, when C. wanted to return home, her mother got an injunction barring her from entering her house - for no apparent reason and without any early warning.

Having no place to go, C. lived on the streets with her few personal possessions.

It was in these dire circumstances that C. formed a relationship with an Arab who soon became her husband, and moved with him to the south of Israel. A year later, shortly before the birth of her first daughter, the Arab husband suddenly disappeared.

"The day I was released from hospital, after the birth, my husband suddenly appeared, with his extended family," C. recalls. "They decided to bring me and my baby daughter to their Arab village."

From the moment C. arrived in the village with her daughter, her husband's Arab family began subjecting her to indescribable abuse. "After a while I had another daughter, but the abuse didn't stop; in fact, it increased, as they taunted me incessantly over my Judaism."

At one point, C. took advantage of an opportunity to escape the village. "I couldn't take it any longer," she said this week.

C. contacted Yad L'Achim for help in gaining custody of her daughters. "She is outraged that her two daughters have been left in the village while she was forced to run away," said an official in Yad L'Achim's counter-assimilation department. "We calmed her down and offered to accompany her through the process and be there for her until, with G-ds' help, her daughters are returned to her. She hasn't seen them in two years."

In recent days, Yad L'Achim brought the case to the courts in the hopes of getting a ruling in the mother's favor.

Attorney Avishai Grady, who is representing C. on behalf of Yad L'Achim, says that "the case is quite complex as her Arab husband's family is not allowing her to see her daughters, much less to have them returned to her."

Nonetheless, Grady says he is optimistic as regards the girls' future.

"There is no reason in the world that a Jewish mother in her situation, who has the ability to raise her minor daughters, shouldn't be allowed to do so."

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