Last month, an 80-year-old Israeli Holocaust survivor passed away in Haifa. When her will was read, her family was shocked to learn that the woman, who requested to remain anonymous, left her considerable fortune, as well as her apartment and her reparation payments, to her next door neighbor, a non-Jewish immigrant to Israel.
“For many long years,” she wrote in her will, “since approximately 2000, the neighbor in question was the closest person to me and the one who supported me and helped me as if he were my son. I love him with all my heart. My own family, on the other hand, including my daughter, both my sons, and my grandchildren, have abandoned me and had little to do with me. I haven’t seen them since making Aliyah in 1971, and therefore I’ve decided not to leave them anything.”
Anticipating possible legal challenges to her will, she had a geriatric psychiatrist examine her two months before her passing, to determine that she was of sound mind. Regardless, her family, which lives in Canada, has already announced it intends to contest the will.
“Once a year, on her birthday, her family would send her a postcard,” the woman’s lawyer told the Israeli press. “That postcard was the extent of her family life. I didn’t know her personally, but I can understand the great pain caused to her and her desire not to leave them anything, even if they’re her blood. The person who was her real family all these years was her neighbor.”