The Israeli Charity 'Helping' Jewish Women in 'Arab Captivity'

The Yad L’Achim organization is rescuing women in distress – but only if 'distress' means being in a relationship with a non-Jew

A demonstration by against the August 2014 wedding of Mahmoud Mansour, a Muslim, and Morel Malka, who converted from Judaism to Islam.
Ofer Vaknin

On the line with the Yad L’Achim organization.

Yad L’Achim.

Hello.

To you, too.

I saw your ad in the newspaper B’Sheva about the…

Which ad?

The one about “Jewish women and their children who are imprisoned in Arab villages and are begging at this time for ‘redemption of captives.’”

Yes, yes.

Do you accept Visa?

What, for a donation?

Yes.

Yes.

Can you give me more details?

Do you want details about our organization’s activity?

Yes. What’s happening, exactly? How do you know that women are in distress?

Either they turn to us themselves – such as, for example, the girl who called less than 10 minutes ago and said, “I am in the kind of relationship you deal with, and I want to know how you can help me,” which is simply an independent appeal – or relatives and acquaintances approach us.

Wait a minute! Is this woman imprisoned, heaven forbid, as your ad states?

I didn’t ask her for details, I transferred it immediately to those who deal with it, I didn’t want her just to have to reveal herself to anyone. But sometimes it’s a woman who is herself imprisoned, and then we involve our security unit – how we can find her in the safest way for herself and her children. Sometimes she’s not imprisoned physically, but it’s a relationship that she’s unable to disconnect from and is destructive for her, both physically sometimes, and spiritually. From every point of view. After all, strength is needed to end a relationship of that kind. That’s our work, to give her the strength and give her the support that’s needed. Everything that’s needed until she gets back on her feet. It’s a process.

Do you help any woman who is in a problematic relationship, or just women who are in relationships with Arabs, heaven forbid?

What do you mean, “any woman”?

Let’s say there’s a woman in Bnei Brak who’s in a destructive or violent relationship. Do you help her, too?

Our goal is to prevent assimilation, and therefore we help women who are in relationships with non-Jews.

I understand. What’s the usual donation?

A great many people issue a standing order for 52 shekels [$14] a month for 12 months. There are also gifts that we send to donors. But it’s absolutely according to what you want.

What do you mean by gifts?

There’s a challah cover for Shabbat, or a very pretty saltshaker.

I saw in the ad that you also give a “coin of fire.”

A coin of fire, that’s right.

What it says is “a coin of fire, capable of every kind of salvation, from the kabbalist, the tzaddik Rabbi Yaakov Edes, shlita [may he live a good long life].”

Correct.

Tell me a minute – if the “coin of fire” is every kind of salvations, then why should I make a donation and get the coin, when you can just take the coins that are capable of every salvation and simply ask them to bring about salvations for these women?

That’s definitely an idea. You don’t have to donate if you don’t want to.

But the coin, according to what you promise, is capable of every kind of salvation.

I understand what you're getting at.

Take the coins and ask them very nicely to prevent assimilation, and be done with it.

It’s an idea.

Who am I talking to?

To Dassy.

You’re talking to Nir Gontarz. I’m a journalist with Haaretz. It’s a good idea, what I suggested. Right?

We’ll think about it.

Who is the head of your organization?

His name is Rabbi Lipshitz.

And what interests him isn’t women in distress of the kind that’s been talked about a great deal in the past few days, but preventing assimilation. Yes?

No. It’s not that the distress doesn’t interest him, but that what interests him is assimilation, and within that framework he works to help women in distress.

He won’t help a woman in distress in Bnei Brak.

He doesn’t help every woman in distress.

Understood. Give him regards and also pass on my brilliant idea, please.

Have a good day.