In 1934 a young Yemeni couple, Rahel and Yosef David Muslemi, arrived in Tel Aviv together with their young daughter Sarah and settled in Tel Aviv’s Carmel neighborhood. The father of the family used to go out to work every morning, and the mother would care for her daughter and for the new baby she had borne here -- Tziona was her name. One day, a nurse named Batya contacted the young Rahel from Hadassah Hospital, which for many years was located between Mazeh and Balfour [streets] and served the residents of the region until it was destroyed in the 1990s in favor of a real estate project. In the discussion, the nurse persuaded the young mother to leave behind her daughter in the new children’s wing that had just been built, the Straus Health Center (a similar one had been built earlier in Jerusalem), which was donated by the famous wealthy Jew to the Hadassah organization and still stands on its foundation on Rehov Balfour in Tel Aviv. “The girl will get stronger in our care; you can come nurse her whenever you want and the rest of the time you will be free for your own activities,” she told her, as Rahel’s children would relate later. In the end, she was convinced.
Rahel came to the child-care center every day, nursed the baby, who was under the supervision of the caretakers and nurses, and played with her. On the fourth day, the mother came and didn’t find the baby Tziona in her bed. Where is the child?, she asked in fear. The child died, the nurses answered. “She began to shriek like a madwoman. She understood instinctively that if she did not do something in that very moment, there would not be another opportunity,” her son Shmuel tells me. Rahel exited the hospital building and ran to the office of Batya the nurse, a distance of several streets away. She screamed until Batya the nurse understood what was going on and advised that she go with her back to the hospital -- and indeed that is what they did.
The two of them got into Batya’s car (“In any case, how did she have a car in the days when a person didn’t have a bicycle?”, Shmuel wondered to his mother who did not know how to answer), and she “sits in the car and shrieks ‘Where is my child?’ and the whole street is watching the car. That’s how it was until they arrived back at Hadassah hospital.” When they arrive at the hospital, the two of them go up fast. Nurse Batya talks with the nurses there in a foreign language and returns to the mother. “The child has been found, do not worry,” she tells her. Together they go up another flight or two and a new shock hits Rahel. When she lifts her eyes she sees that Tziona is dressed like a princess. A new dress. A new, different hairstyle. Shiny new shoes. Her daughter had never owned shoes. The child was packaged and ready for delivery. She grabbed the child and ran from there.
Shmuel’s mother told him this story for the first time when the events in Yehud broke out, during the struggle of Rabbi Uzi Meshulam. “She wanted to tell me: These matters are true. Do not doubt it.”