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January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
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Faces of Israel: Mazal Elijah, Immigrant from Iraq

If an Arab barged into your home and demanded to marry your daughter, it was impossible to refuse him.

Baghdad Street cleaning car circa 1935

Baghdad Street cleaning car circa 1935

However, things did eventually get better for Mazal’s family. Her parents had three more children here in Israel under much better medical conditions than what existed in Iraq. In the end, after struggling to find a job, Mazal’s father would end up selling vegetables and they would move out of the hut into a nicer home.

Mazal says she has zero desire to return to Iraq and is happy to live in Israel. Although the beginning was very difficult, she is happy with how her life in Israel turned out in the end. She presently doesn’t have to wear a face veil, is free to go out without an escort, and doesn’t have to deal with a constant barrage of violence without being able to rely on the authorities to defend her. Her children were able to play with dolls and games when they were small and now proudly carry on her legacy.

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About the Author: Rachel Avraham is a news editor and political analyst for Jerusalem Online News, the English language internet edition of Israel's Channel 2 News. She completed her masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University. The subject of her MA thesis was: "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media."


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