He told me his name was Nati and that he was 26 years old. He told me that he wanted to go learn in yeshiva and strengthen himself. I was, at the time, 21 years old.
I come from a family of 6 children whose parents are ultra-orthodox. At the time I was working part-time as a waitress and helping in an institute for Jews returning to Judaism. It was then that I meet Nati. He took me to movies, wined and dined me, bought me all that I wanted. After some two months I fell in love with him. He dressed well, smelled nice – I would even call him in the middle of the night to have a cup of coffee, he would always come. We had a great soul connection. We would talk and he would cry. I thought that he was very sensitive. He worked in a construction company.
It did not really bother me that he was not religious because he always said he wanted to return to Judaism. My friends would say that they would pray for him. After a while he said that he wanted me to meet his parents I agreed and so we traveled to Jaffa to meet them. We stopped in front of an Arab house, I was lost, and I could not believe that he could be an Arab. He had no accent and spoke perfect Hebrew.
After my initial shock had worn off, I felt that I just could not leave him.
Friends told me maybe he would convert, I laughed just imagining that the Rabbis would convert an Arab because of love; in Israel they don’t do that. In any case, I knew in my heart that he wouldn’t.
He had a trial going on at that time against him for assault. He received three months in prison. It was there that I learned that his real name is Husan and that he was 38 years old, divorced and had three children. Still, I could not leave him.
A week after he got out of prison we moved in together, I just could not be separated from him. At home I told my parents that I was renting a room in Tel-Aviv with some girl friends. They were surprised that I wanted to rent in such a secular area, and it was not long after that that my parents found
out that I was living with an Arab. They cried and I cried, still I stayed with him. My father called and asked that I not sit shiva for him. I wiped out all of my friends from my phone book, excepted for one friend who told me I was doing the wrong thing but that she was still with me if I wanted to talk. Months went by without talking to my parents.
We began living like a married couple. He would buy me anything that I wanted and took care of all my needs. Back in Jaffa where his family lives, there are literally thousands of Jewish girls that live with Arabs. What was different in my case was that I was able to get along with his mother. The other girls told me that all their mothers-in-law cursed and abused them.
After the first year of being together, I received my first beating from him. I could not believe it. Husan went away for a week and I did not hear from him. After four days I called his mother, who told me: “You got a beating – So what? I get them and a lot worse all the time”.
He came back to me promising not to repeat the beating. I took him back but things only got worse. He had me leave my job and stay home. Now it was like I was in jail, staying home all day with nowhere to go. By now every other week I was getting slapped around, and afterwards he would once again wine and dine me, treating me like a princess. I was slowly losing my mind.
It was at that time that I called Rebbetzin Baranes, whom I knew from my family. She met with me, listening to my story with patience and love. It was then that she took me to the women’s hostel in Jerusalem, where I met other girls with similar stories.
Today, thank G-d and with the help of Rebbetzin Baranes I’m on the right track back to my people, and living in the hostel. Once again I’m connected to my family. The first three months at the hostel, I could not get myself to go out. Husan would try to leave me messages of how much he needed me and could not go on without me. I told the Rebbetzin to take my phone away, because I could not handle the calls.
I feel that I’m one of the lucky ones to have been able to get out of this awful situation. In my time I’ve meet many Jewish women who were not so fortunate, and stayed with their Arabs – always abused, beaten and without hope.