Sensing a rare window of opportunity, Michal, then in the ninth month of her second pregnancy, fled an Arab village to safety in Israel. Last week, her son was finally given a Bris Milah.
She was in the ninth month of her second pregnancy, but felt she had to make a break for it. From experience, she knew that if she were caught trying to run away, she would be subjected to merciless blows. But staying in that home, and facing a future of relentless violence, was simply not an option.
The tragic tale of Michal began when she was just a child. Born into a poverty-stricken family, and orphaned at a young age, she moved from boarding school to boarding school until the age of 18, when she found herself on the street.
At her lowest point, when she felt utterly hopeless, an Arab entered her life, offering to put a roof over her head. She moved into his apartment, in a mixed, Jewish-Arab neighborhood, and thought she’d found a safe harbor. But he took advantage of her vulnerability and subjected her to harsh violence.
At one point, Michal decided she couldn’t take it any longer, and wanted to open a new chapter in her life. She called a guidance counselor who’d helped her in the past, who referred her to Yad L’Achim.
Her Arab partner learned of her calls by searching her cell phone and confiscated it. From that point on, he barred her from making any contact with the outside world and made her completely dependent on him. Even after she gave birth to their first son, he refused to allow her to contact any members of her family to ask for help with the new baby.
In revenge for her escape attempt, he beat her daily so that she would “learn her lesson” and never try it again. Michal was locked up in the house day and night. Gradually, she came to the conclusion that despite the grave danger, if she didn’t take a bold step she would be trapped forever. When she became pregnant for a second time, she worried about having to deliver once again in a strange Arab hospital. But the straw that broke the camel’s back, was her husband’s threat to take her to live in the dangerous refugee camp near Beit Lechem where he was born. There was no way she was going to allow that to happen.
Michal managed to find a way to contact Yad L’Achim, and its security department prepared a detailed escape plan. She left the house for a short shopping trip, in accordance with the plan, with her partner’s parting words ringing in her ears: “When you get back I’ll beat you till you drop.” But there was no turning back, and her short shopping trip became an opportunity to pursue a new, hopeful life.
Michal came straight to the secret safe house that had been provided and furnished the organization and began piecing together a new life. Last week, she gave birth to her son, and with Hashem’s help, the boy was able to have a Bris Milah.
After the Bris, Michal sat for a short interview in which she shared her feelings.
“This is an emotional, new beginning, full of life. I simply didn’t know if I wanted to continue living and if I had the strength.
“What caused me to get up and leave was the knowledge that they were with me every step of the way and wouldn’t give up on me. This warmed my heart and gave me the strength to leave. We are very happy… For me and for my children, this is a new beginning and today I have entered my child into the Jewish People.”
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