Reports of wild celebrations in Arab villages and neighborhoods following last week’s deadly terror attack in the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv left many shocked and horrified. Yet such expressions of joy and satisfaction following murderous acts of terrorism are hardly new, and have become a frequent occurrence after such attacks.
Perhaps the most well-publicized celebrations came in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, when Arabs across Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and eastern Jerusalem were filmed cheering and handing out candy.
For one young woman, however, these spontaneous expressions of celebration were not merely disgusting or disturbing – they were a frightening reminder of the danger she lived with every single day.
Sarah (whose real name has been withheld to protect her identity) spoke with Arutz Sheva about the four years she lived in Yatta, the home village of the two terrorists responsible for last week’s murderous attack in Tel Aviv. During her time in Yatta, Sarah told Arutz Sheva, she saw regular expressions of joy and support for terror attacks – support, she said, which was shared by the entire village.
“There is no joy like the [joy] they have when something like this happens,” said Sarah. “They talk about it in every house. It becomes the talk of the town. Everyone rejoices and is happy; both men and women.”
When terrorism was on the rise, Sarah recalls, even those closest to her in the village, including her husband’s family, grew hostile.
“On the one hand they looked at me strangely, as if they wanted to murder me; on the other hand they praised me for being there and becoming one of them. But at the end of the day I suffered from a lot of racism. I lock myself off in a room and listen to them cursing the Jews. I had to keep my mouth shut and not respond.”
At times, Sarah noted, the general hostility towards Jews was directed not only at her but her children as well.
“They attacked me many times, many people frightened me. My mother-in-law cursed me and threw me out of the house with the children and told me ‘get out of here, Jewess, get out of here’.”
Whenever terrorists were killed, said Sarah, her husband’s family directed their anger at her, particularly when the terrorists were from Yatta.
“Then the curses [against me] became more fierce…they would look at me as if I was guilty. If she [the mother-in-law] would have an opportunity to attack me physically, she would have done it.”
Sarah rarely left her home in the village, and few residents knew she is Jewish.
“Most of the time I didn’t go around on the street; if I went out for a little while, no one knew that I’m Jewish. I was dressed just like them, so no one was aware of my Jewish background.”
Just how did a young Jewish woman end up trapped in Yatta?
“I didn’t have an easy life,” says Sarah. “Somehow I ended up [with him] and this is what happened. I didn’t understand what it meant to live in Yatta. I didn’t understand where I was going. I thought it was just a regular village.”
“There were days when I begged him to let me leave and go back to my mother. He would not let me leave.”
Sarah had three children during her time in Yatta. After the birth of her second child, however, she knew she had to find some way to escape.
Eventually, however, Sarah’s husband relented and allowed her to visit her mother, expecting her to return within a day or so. Instead, Sarah cut off all connection with him. And because he is not an Israeli citizen, he is unable to cross the Green Line to pursue her.
Today Sarah speaks to Jewish girls who have begun dating Arab men.
“They think they’re [too] smart and ‘it will never happen to me’, and that ‘he loves me’ and ‘he will take care of me and support me’. That’s a total lie. They won’t love [them], not tomorrow or the day after; they will never love a Jewish girl. She will just be a punching bag that needs to be humiliated; she isn’t a human being, and once they already have a Jewish girl, they use her like a rag.”