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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776
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‘Muslim’ Boy Escapes Arab Village and Holds Bar Mitzvah at Kotel

‘Yesterday I was a Muslim. Today I am a Jewish man.”

"Last year, I didn't even know I was Jewish," said "S,"born to his Jewish mother who was imprisoned in the home of her Arab husband.

"Last year, I didn't even know I was Jewish," said "S,"born to his Jewish mother who was imprisoned in the home of her Arab husband.
Photo Credit: Yad L'Achim

A 13-year-old boy born to a Jewish mother and raised in an Arab village celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall last week after she had escaped with him and her two daughters from her “prison at home.”

Details of the dramatic rescue mission cannot be published, said the anti-missionary Yad L’Achim organization, which engineered the escape.

The location of the Arab village is not known, and lips are sealed on how the woman, identified as “R,” was able to contact Yad L’Achim despite prison-like conditions imposed on her by her Arab husband. No information has been released about the ages of her two daughters.

The boy, identified as “S,” recited the blessing over the Torah in a tear-jerking celebration last Monday at the Kotel in Jerusalem. On his way to the Western Wall, a social worker who accompanied him asked what he would have said a year ago if told that he would be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel the following year.

“S” replied, “I would have asked, ‘What’s a Bar Mitzvah.?’ My father forbade my mother to speak anything about it, and I didn’t even know I was Jewish.”

“R” suffered two decades in what is a common story of a young Jewish woman falling into the charms, and usually gifts, of an Arab and then marrying him, converting to Islam and becoming a prisoner in his house and a victim of wife-beating.

Her Arab husband prohibited her from making contact with other women in the village, and he did not allow her to step out of the house alone.

After the rescue, Yad L’Achim took the woman and her children to a “safe” house and helped provide the means to help her rehabilitate back into normal life.

Relying on the organization’s legal advice, she filed a complaint with the police, charging her husband with violence, and she nullified her conversion to Islam in a Rabbinic Court.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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