Shalom and Sigal Ben Hamou with a picture of
Shalom and Sigal Ben Hamou with a picture ofIsrael news photo: Ofer Amram

A 15-year-old missing Jewish teen was found by police on Sunday in an Arab village located in the Triangle, an area west of Hadera populated mainly by Israeli Arabs, whose towns form a large triangle on the map.

The girl, Nofar Ben Hamou from Lod, went missing a few weeks ago after she met an Arab man. Her parents, Sigal and Shalom Ben Hamou, found out about their daughter’s relationship a year and a half ago. They tried to object but it had been too late.

In a recent interview with the Hebrew Besheva magazine Nofar’s parents recalled that one evening, their daughter came home and announced that she has converted to Islam and has decided to marry her boyfriend. The stunned parents tried to dissuade her but she was insistent and then packed her bags and left the house. She did not take a cell phone with her, so her parents were unable to contact her since that night and she disappeared without a trace. Her parents subsequently called the police.

During the past few weeks, many searches were carried out for Nofar, and intelligence information received by the police led them to find her on Sunday. MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) and the Lehava anti-assimilation organization were in constant contact with the family. Ben-Ari and representatives of Lehava came to the police station on Sunday evening and guided the family on how to treat their daughter now that she has been found.

The Lehava organization said on Sunday night, after Ben Hamou was located, “The organization will continue treating the young woman and help her return to the Jewish people. The organization welcomes the activities of the police and calls on the authorities to handle this phenomenon. We will continue to fight for the return of the daughters of Israel to the people of Israel.”

Lod is a mixed Jewish-Arab city and Sigal Ben Hamou said during the recent Besheva interview that there are many dangers for young Jewish girls in the city.

“Girls here are exposed to minorities daily, on the way to school and back," she said. "It definitely can happen to anyone. My daughter was perfectly normal, full of joie de vivre, surrounded by friends. My daughter was a victim. We live next to Arabs who are always trying to attract and entice our innocent girls. They give the girls iPhones, expensive jeans, jewelry, gold watches and what not. That’s how they blind them. Unfortunately, there is no immunity to almost anyone. In my worst nightmares I never dreamed it would happen to us.”

The deputy mayor of the northern Israeli town of Afula recently said that a growing number of young Jewish girls are marrying Arabs.

In an interview with a local newspaper, Dr. Boris Yudis said, “The phenomenon of girls aged 12 and 13 who are in Arab villages breaks my heart, but unfortunately my hands are tied. Mothers come to me and cry that their 12 and 13 year olds have moved into minority villages, this is a painful thing that wounds my heart."

Lehava chairman Bentzi Gopstein has said the Knesset must pass a law that prohibits seduction of a minor, in order to fight the phenomenon.