Baher Gahar-Fur fled her radical Muslim husband and left her four children behind to avoid being sold to ISIS after refusing to conform to her husband’s radicalism. After arriving in Israel with the help of Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri, Baher said, ‘I love Israel and hope to be reunited with my family.’
A Jewish woman from Kurdistan was forced to flee her home and leave her four children after her husband, a devout Muslim, abused her and threatened to sell her to ISIS after she refused to adopt his more religious lifestyle. Her journey has brought her all the way to Israel.
Baher Muhammad Gahar-Fur, 35, was born in Sulaymaniyah, in Iraqi Kurdistan and didn’t even know she was Jewish. At 15, she married a Muslim Kurd and the couple had four children, who are today 5, 11, 15 and 16.
Over the years, her husband gradually became more religious and radicalized and began to pressure Baher to adopt his lifestyle. When she refused his demands, he became incensed and eventually informed her that he had decided to sell her for $2,200 to a group of ISIS fighters who were approaching the village.
The next morning, when her husband left for work, she packed a suitcase and with great sadness at leaving her children, fled toward the Turkish border. Because Turkey does not allow Kurds to enter the country, Baher joined a group of Syrian refugees and together they crossed the border.
Several days after she arrived in Turkey, Baher’s story somehow came to the attention of Eli Domenz, an Israeli businessman who was born in Turkey and has connections to the Turkish government. After making contact with Baher, Domenz set her up in a safe house and made contact with the Israeli Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs.
Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri immediately ordered that the woman be processed and a month later, with the aid of the government, Baher landed in Israel and was located to a community in the south, where relatives reside.
In a meeting with Deri, Baher explained that she discovered she was Jewish 10 years ago, but that she “grew up in a Muslim family in every way.” Baher is currently in Israel on a tourist visa while the Interior Ministry examines her story and her roots to issue her an identity card and offer her permanent residency.
“This is truly about saving lives,” said Deri who also announced that a search to locate other family scattered throughout Israel is underway. Baher thanked Deri and told him she was very glad to make it to Israel. “I love Israel and hope to be reunited with my family,” she said as she wrapped herself in an Israeli flag.