Impostor Lebanese Chosson Wants To Immigrate To Israel And Convert: “Help Me”

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The Lebanese-Muslim chosson who pretended to be a frum bochur and married a Sefardic girl from Brooklyn has launched a fundraising campaign with the goal of reaching Eretz Yisroel and converting properly.

“I do not want to make myself a victim or someone who deserves sympathy,” he says. “I was 100% wrong.”

Eliyahu Haliwa asks for everyone’s mercy.

“For years, I lived as a Jew, hurting many people, spending countless Shabbosos with beloved rabbis, being very involved in the Jewish life at the University of Texas, and even occasionally reading the Torah at Bnei Binyamin, a Torah center in Brooklyn. Worst of all, I married a girl in the Jewish community in Brooklyn. I went down into a pit that I had knowingly dug into for many years.”

Haliwa says that “the religion of Islam never spoke to me,” noting that he became interested in Judaism “long before I even met my kallah.”

He further says that “In 2015, when I first arrived in the US and was only 17, I approached a local Reform community in my area in Houston to inquire about an official conversion. If you’re wondering why it was a Reform synagogue, it’s because I just Googled shuls near me, and that’s what popped up as the shul closest to me, but they rejected me.”

He says that he began to connect to Jewish life on campus. “That’s how I first came to Chabad, when I was there. They asked me if I was Jewish, I answered in the affirmative, and at that point in time I just tried to connect more with Jewish groups, without thinking carefully or long term.”

“I understand that [what I did] was a huge mistake and a mistake in judgment. On the contrary, [if I would have been forthcoming], Chabad would have given me active assistance to help me convert in the right way.”

Haliwa explains that he did not tell his kallah the truth, because “I came to know that the Syrian Jewish community has a strictly enforced order from 1935 which forbids marriage to geirim, although conversion is something approved by Torah and halacha. I still understand the context in which it came into force. Apparently, at that time, before the community established schools and resources of its own, many young Syrian Jews attended public schools and mingled with gentile girls, and the community, fearing what might follow, decided to excommunicate those in the community who would marry strangers in hopes of preventing assimilation.”

Haliwa says that he thought to justify it: “If we had children, they would be halachic Jews anyway. I thought this at that moment in a selfish and very shameful way.

“What has been done is done, and I have no way of undoing the serious damage I have caused. The only thing I can do is repent and repent and prove myself to the Jewish community in general, but especially to my kallah. Forgiveness is not something I can expect, let alone demand. This is something I will carry for the rest of my life. But I beg for another opportunity. The immediate thing I can do is go through an Orthodox conversion process.

“I cannot cancel my wrong, and I take full blame for the terrible pain I caused. However, I want to be responsible and I want to convert.”

Haliwa says that “in the United States, almost certainly no one would want to touch this [case], but in Israel the situation is different.”

Haliwa says that he received offers from a number of people in the country who want to help him convert. “When the news of my situation became known, I lost my job as a software engineer working for a member of the Syrian Jewish community, so I ask for good people to help me through donations, as much as it takes.”



  1. When you are merciful to the cruel, you will end up being cruel to those who deserve mercy. I understand he thinks he just made a mistake. but he was terribly cruel to the girl he married.

  2. Beware! A body language analyst that works for the FBI, watched his interview with the frum guy after the story came out and said that this guys was lying through his teeth! No one donate a penny!

    • Regardless, it was the responsibility of the lady to do proper research before marrying him. To find a date on the internet is NOT considered being responsible. Instead of asking the establishment questions like, does he wear a white shirt during bein hazmanim, is he makpid on chalav yisroel, what does he learn during licha dodi, what kind of filtered flip-phone does he use,
      do his parents go to Orlando for Pesach, etc etc…, She should of asked, prove to me your yichus? Relying on some far flung Chabad house to say, yeh, he used to daven here, is not enough to prove anything.

  3. I think he might have “accidentally” left out some “minor” details. On a Non-Jewish news platform, he repeated numerous times that he still wishes to marry his “sweetheart”, a frum Jewish girl who he so recklessly defiled. How can a shameless liar and abuser be allowed to enter the holy nation of Hashem. The Torah exists on emes, and sheker is the worst evil in the world. Every one should stay far away from the wicked, and I am sure he will be punished many times over in the next world for all he has done to a frum community, and the agony he has put a young bas yisroel through. Knowing that the Syrian community does not marry geirim is no excuse for lying so brazenly, and destroying an innocent person’s life. May Hashem punish him the same He punished the Yevanim who also defiled all the Jewish kallos in their days, and may he speedily be made an example of to all those who wish to do harm to Klal Yisroel.

  4. I don’t know if you should or shouldn’t donate. But some commenters are making it sound like this guy was a jewish guy who did what he did. Right now this man is a non jew. Anything he did or said should be viewed in that context.

  5. I believe the Frum community also needs to reinforce מי שאינו יודע בטיב גיטין וקידושין לא יהא לו עסק עמהם. Even though the rule is primarily for גיטין there does need to be more oversight regarding קידושין as well. Not every self declared Rabbi and ראש הישיבה should be מסדר קידושין – it does not work that way in Europe.

  6. Why are the frum news sites publishing and interviewing him??? Why give such a liar and a person who did something against a Jewish girl completely knowingly a platform. Why are we even talking to him and promoting him?!?


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