Our rabbis taught us: “From where is it derived that one who sees another drowning in a river or being dragged away by a wild animal… is obligated to save him? The Torah states: ‘You shall not stand idly by the blood of another’” (Sanhedrin 73). And he is commanded to even desecrate the Sabbath in order to save the soul of a Jew, as Rabbi Yosef Karo ruled: “One who is informed that his daughter has been taken out from his house on Shabbat to remove her from the People of Israel is commanded to set out and strive to save her, and he must go out even beyond three parsaot, and if he does not the beit din decrees that he go” (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, Siman 306:14).
The phenomenon of relationships between Jewish girls and Arabs, non-Jews, and foreign workers exists country-wide and transcends socio-economic status. Unfortunately, we meet girls from secular, religious, and Haredi families. Girls who come from both dysfunctional and / or normative homes are also vulnerable.
In light of the growing severity of assimilation in the country, several community organizations have focused their energy, for many years, to save Jewish girls. We have established an organization named Lehava which fights assimilation in the Holy Land. Together, the experienced leadership of Lehava has made it their mission to reach these girls, before they reach villages and are gone.
In order to stem the tide of assimilation, preventative steps of isolating and treating the source of the problem must be initiated. In healing the soul, just as in healing the body, there is greater success in early identification; by increasing community awareness and individualized treatments for these girls.
We do not judge these girls. We want to show them the pathway back to the Jewish people through warmth and love.
“Love of Israel” – that is the slogan of Lehava’s dozens of volunteers who work 24 hours a day to save these precious souls.
At Lehava, not only do we save the daughters of Israel amid great risk, but we provide ongoing care, a warm home, protection and rehabilitation. We are working to establish hundreds of homes throughout israel, helping to reshape their lives.
Looking at the pages of a Lehava case log, is like getting a glimpse of a front-line command room. Our volunteers log every request for help. Each hour we receive calls, and each request is examined, verified, triggering our volunteer team to jump into action whenever necessary.
The requests are diverse, and each one is heart-wrenching. Sometimes requests come from a family. Sometimes requests come from one member of the family who reaches out to us with the hope of reconnecting with the daughter who decided to tie her fate with the fate of the young Arab whom she met.
Sometimes it is the young woman herself who manages to muster the courage for a few minutes of a whispered phone call; sharing her story in brief, in the hope that someone will listen to the story and help her escape the ongoing suffering that she is experiencing.
At Lehava do not wait for that phone call. The moment a case comes our way, we attempt to convince her to leave him. Although we are not always successful, we never despair. We try to reach out and convince the same girl again and again, because we treat each girl as if she were our daughter.
The Jewish sages’ saying: “Whoever saves one soul from Israel, it is as if he saved an entire world” is implemented by us in practice every day.