In a true Chanukah miracle this year, a long-lost son saw his mother again for the first time since he was six months old.
By United with Israel Staff
When a Jewish woman named “Gila” (a pseudonym) married an Arab man named Ismail over 30 years ago, she never dreamed that he would kidnap their children from their home in Ashkelon and take them to live in the Gaza Strip. But that is just what he did with their three daughters and six-month-old son, 29 years ago.
Last month, during the time when Jews commemorate the ancient miracles of Chanukah, a new miracle happened. Gila was reunited with her son, Mohammed.
Gila’s reunion with Mohammed was facilitated by Yad L’Achim, a rescue organization committed to saving Jews trapped in Arab villages and those who are being preyed on by missionaries.
She provided details to the organization about the father of her lost children in order to find them in the heavily populated and dangerous Gaza Strip.
With the help of advanced technologies, Yad L’Achim’s security division miraculously found the children. The first-born daughter, married to a local Arab, has five children. The other two children are still single.
“Only after we were 100 percent certain that we had the right people did we make the connection between the oldest daughter and her Jewish mother via a Skype call,” said a Yad L’Achim statement. “The daughter was shocked to receive a telephone call from a woman in Israel claiming to be her Jewish mother. Her Arab father had told her and her siblings that their Jewish mother died suddenly, causing them to disconnect from her emotionally.”
The mother and daughter now maintain regular contact.
Passover in Gaza
Due to the daughter’s son requiring life-saving surgery in Jerusalem around Passover last year, he was brought into Israel by an Arab aunt. This created an opportunity for the child to meet his Jewish grandmother.
Yad L’Achim seized the opportunity and sent the boy back to Gaza with matzos for his Jewish mother and extended family.
“This may have been the first time in decades that Passover was celebrated in the heart of Gaza, with Jews eating matzos in the privacy of their darkened rooms,” noted the statement.
“Having had the chance to taste for the first time from the bread of faith and feeling a deep connection with the Jewish people, Mohammed decided to leave Gaza, no matter what. The decision wasn’t easy. He had spent nearly his entire life there and felt connected to the place, but he understood that he was an alien presence who had been brought there against this will,” the statement continued.
The organization developed a sophisticated plan to free Mohammed and secure his passage to Israel, which granted him citizenship.
In early December, he crossed into Israel from Gaza via the Erez border into the waiting arms of his mother. “The two hugged for what seemed an eternity, sobbing in sorrow and joy,” Yad L’Achim reported. “For many long minutes the two hugged one another, with Mohammed crying out repeatedly, ‘mommy, mommy.’”
The organization is now helping Mohammed adjust to his new Israeli life. This past Chanukah was the first time he celebrated the holiday.
Since its founding in 1950, 751 women and children have been rescued from Arab villages through the auspices of Yad L’Achim, according to their website. “The Jewish soul is a precious,” said the organization. “We are not prepared to give up on even a single one.”