Testimony of Tali Tsdaka, Habiba’s sister:
Simcha and Mordechai Urfali are my parents. Dad passed away seven years ago. Mother is alive, 87 years old, with dementia.
We are six brothers and sisters. I'm the youngest.
When mom was young, she always said there was another sister in the family, Habiba, named for my grandmother. She was my parents’ first born. When mom was pregnant with Habiba, she suffered from preeclampsia (pregnancy poisoning) and when she gave birth at Beilinson Hospital, the doctors decided that because of the preeclampsia, Habiba should be transferred to “Tsahalon” Hospital in Jaffa for observation.
Habiba was interned for three months. My uncles remember her as a beautiful, light skinned baby. Mother said she used to travel to visit her as often as possible, and saw that she was a lively and healthy baby girl. When Habiba was 3 months old, the doctors told mom she could come and take her home. Mom bought a hammock, a baby carriage, and everything else that was needed, and went to get Habiba. When she arrived, she was told the baby had died.
In total shock, she came home and told dad the news. Dad didn't stay silent. He went over and "turned the whole place upside down". He demanded: “How could she have died? I want to see a body and a death certificate”. They showed him neither.
Both my parents love Israel so they did not stand up to the establishment. Over the years, there was almost no mention of the tragedy at home, until the 1990s - when the late Rabbi Uzi Meshulam, may his memory be blessed, brought up this cause. From then on, my dad too became active. He gave an interview on Reshet Bet radio, I don't remember the name of the program, and told our story. He said his daughter was abducted, and that he was told she was dead, with no grave or a death certificate shown as evidence. I too tell the story ever since, wherever possible, in company. I am not embarrassed to say that the State of Israel committed a crime against humanity, a racist crime against my parents and all the families whose children were thus abducted. To me it's like a Holocaust.
Dad passed away seven years ago, and his words are like a last will to me, to find out what happened to Habiba. I'm alone in this, without my siblings. Before he died, he said to them: “Tali will find the sister”. Dad was a very well-known in the Carmel market. Many knew him and would visit his stall in the market, including politicians. He also had many friends in the military, who used to gather at his place.
Since he passed away, I'm doing what I can to find a clue. In 2018, I approached “Ittim” organization, which helps with burial related issues. I gave them details and asked them to check if Habiba has a grave somewhere. At first, they thought they had found it, and then they realized they made a mistake and wrote that no grave was located. I also applied to Tsofit Grant's program on T.V. and at this time I am in the process of placing mom's DNA in a database.
It is important to me to voice our protest about the crime the state committed. I love my country, but I carry a lot of anger in me. How could something like this have happened, like a Holocaust, and no one is doing anything about it? How can it be that my mother, at the age of 87, is sick and carrying all this pain about the daughter who was taken from her, and no one offers her any help or answers?
Shlomo, Tali's uncle (brother of Mordechai, the father) adds:
My brother Mordechai always said that his daughter was abducted. I remember how all his friends, the so called "cabinet", used to gather in the Carmel market round the radio, when he went on the air and told the story of the abduction. He also posted the story on his army battalion's Facebook page. He did everything in his power.
Dad didn't stay silent. He went over and "turned the whole place upside down”. He demanded: “How could she have died? I want to see a body and a death certificate”. They showed him neither.