A single mother from Nazareth sat with her siblings in the waiting room of the
Rambam Medical Center in Haifa on Thursday, praying while her 16-year-old
daughter lay anesthetized and hooked up to a respirator, two days after a man
allegedly leaned into her bedroom window and threw acid in her face.
suspected attacker, a neighbor, had been stalking the girl for years, but the
harassment had increased over the past month, the mother said. Almost daily, the
man would follow her daughter, “Ayin” (not her real name), around Nazareth,
demanding she marry him and threatening that if she spurned his advances he’d
make sure she was never beautiful again, the mother said.
around midnight, he allegedly carried out his threat.
Just a few hours
earlier, Ayin had turned in early to get some sleep before a test the next day
in preparation for a bagrut (matriculation) exam. She left the window open to
let in some fresh air, her mother said.
Speaking through an interpreter,
the mother said she had gone upstairs to close the window and come in to find
her daughter screaming and splashing water on her face.
screaming, ‘He did it, he burned me!’ She was yelling his name and said she
heard another man with him.
She kept screaming, ‘Help me, help me,’” the
The woman described the terror her family has lived through for
the past few days, afraid the man’s family will further target them and that
Ayin will never see again.
The mother had the interpreter check this
reporter’s press card and ID, saying she wanted to be sure there was no family
relationship with the man believed to have hurt her daughter.
Her other four
children – three girls and a boy – are staying with relatives in an Arab village
outside Shibli, near Mount Tabor, she said.
They are afraid to come home,
where the family of the man who allegedly disfigured their sister is only meters
away and can see through the windows into their house.
The family feels
even more vulnerable because there is no father at home – he died when Noor, the
eldest child, was only four years old. Since then, the mother has raised her
four children on welfare and with the help of her siblings.
the mother, the harassment of Ayin began when she was 14 and the suspect was in
his late 40s. The mother said that when her daughter was home from school the
neighbor would often send over his young son to bring her candies or ice cream.
She said he would also offer her money and even drugs to be with her.
just thought he was crazy and didn’t complain to the police,” the mother said,
adding that she didn’t want any trouble with the man’s family, especially with
his eldest son, who she said had a history of violent offenses.
asked to describe Ayin, the mother said her daughter was a beautiful and
intelligent young woman, well-loved by friends and teachers at school – who have
been calling her repeatedly since Tuesday. The girl had plans to study
accounting after high school.
The harassment began to worsen about a
month ago, the mother said, when Ayin became engaged to a 20- year-old
university student in Jordan. The fiancé has still not been informed of the
attack, and the family fears how he may react when he hears the
Doctors are waiting for the rest of the acid to work its way out of
the girl’s system before they take her off anesthesia and have an eye specialist
examine her to see if she will regain her vision. The acid splashed not only
into her eyes, but also into her mouth, causing internal damage and impairing
her ability to speak.
Ayin’s mother said the last time she spoke to her
daughter was on Wednesday, when she regained consciousness.
“She held my
hand and I told her I’d stay by her side, and she started crying, and then they
put her under again.”
Northern District police have set up a task force
to investigate the case. The suspect was arrested hours after the attack, and
his remand was extended until Sunday. The family has requested that his name not
be released and that Ayin’s identity be kept secret, as she is a
David Ratner, director of public affairs and spokesman for Rambam
Medical Center, said that over the past couple of days a chain of journalists
had visited him, wanting to cover the case, including a number from the foreign
“This is something more fitting to Afghanistan, Iran,
Pakistan. It’s not something people expect here,” Ratner said.