Tears of joy as siblings meet for the first time


A Jewish woman who grew up an only child in a single-parent family has described being united with her long-lost half-brother as “a dream come true”.

Laura Hayward Alfia was born in Israel but came to the UK at the age of four after her mother split from her Israeli father, Avraham Alfia.

Growing up, she had little contact with Avraham or his family. But earlier this month, 14 years after her father died from a suspected drugs overdose, the 26-year-old was united with a half-brother she never knew existed.

Miss Hayward Alfia, who lives in south-east London, said: “Five years ago I went back to Israel to visit my father’s grave and that’s when my uncle casually mentioned that my half-brother had called him from Sweden a couple of years before.”

Miss Hayward Alfia, who works at the London College of Fashion, attempted to find out more — with little success.

But in 2013 there was a breakthrough. “I received a friend request on Facebook from someone called Martin Mordechai Alfia Jarnefors. I thought it was a joke or scam. But then I got a message saying ‘I believe I’m your brother’. I said I didn’t believe him and asked for photos.”

The response convinced her.

“We look so alike, it’s unbelievable. He’s very Swedish, but looks very Israeli and we both look like our father.”

The pair spent more than three years communicating, before deciding to meet this month. Mr Jarnefors came with his mother Kristina, who had split from Avraham soon after his birth.

The 34-year-old taxi driver had known even less about his background. But he found out about Ms Hayward Alfia’s existence after he tracked down his uncle with the help of an Israeli friend.

The long-awaited meeting took place in London. “I burst into tears when I met him,” said Ms Hayward Alfia. “It’s like a dream come true that I have a sibling.”

Mr Jarnefors said the moment had been “very emotional. Words can’t explain the feeling.”

The pair are now considering a trip together to Israel. Meanwhile, there is another mystery to solve.

“We have found out that we have another brother, somewhere in Germany” Ms Hayward Alfia said.

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