As part of the month of forgiveness and repentance that leads up to Yom Kippur, President Reuven Rivlin visited many individuals who had submitted to him requests for clemency and pardon, with which he has dealt with as president.
After visiting a hostel for former women prisoners, Rivlin continued to a day center for young people released from prison.
The hostel is a ‘half-way house’ for women released on license as they return to society, which helps them enter the work force and to transition to independent living. During his visit, the president talked with women residents of the hostel, including Dalal Da’ud who was convicted of the murder of her husband and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2010, her sentence was reduced to 30 years. In May 2017, her sentence was reduced by a presidential pardon to 24 years and 4 months, and she was able to go before the parole board at that time.
On one of her visits to the Neve Tirtza womens’ prison, the president’s late wife Nechama ז”ל met Dalal Da’ud. Nechama left a particularly deep impression on Da’ud, and was with her during as she carried out her sentence. When Nechama was in hospital, Dalal sent her a letter in which she thanked her for the warmth and understanding she had shown on every visit to the prison, and after her death, Dalal wrote to the Rivlin family and sent her condolences.
Dalal told the president of the difficulties, particularly at present, with regard to violence against women. She said that she had approached all possible authorities to request help and that she felt very much alone. Dalal shared with the president the steps that she was taking on the road to personal and family rehabilitation, and of the long road still ahead of her. “We must make sure that women are listened to before they are judged. If I had found someone to listen to me, just one person, someone to help me, I would not have gone through everything that I have. Prison does not rehabilitate people who have suffered violence. Real rehabilitation happens here.”
President Rivlin said, “After the month of Selichot – penitential prayers – and during the ten days of repentance, this is the time for forgiveness: to request it and to grant it, as individuals and as a society”
“I am stronger today because here people ask me how I am, every day. There are people who care about me, every day. That is how I know I will succeed,” said R, a resident of the hostel for women released from.