The father of an Orthodox Sephardi woman who discovered her husband was a fake Jew after their wedding has warned the groom to “back up a million feet” if he believes he can win his daughter back.
Ali Hasan Hawila had posed as an observant Jew for years before marrying his bride from the Syrian Jewish community of Brooklyn New York.
His true identity as a Lebanese Muslim who had not converted was uncovered just weeks after they got married.
Now the bride’s father, Yosef Kredi, has spoken about the terrible damage done to his daughter and the family by the deception.
Mr Kredi said: “He knows what he did. And he knew before, but he took a risk, he took the chance. He gambled on my account, he gambled with my money, with my own life he gambled.” He added: “He destroyed our life.”
Mr Hawila recently told the JC that he now wants to go to Israel where he intends to convert to Judaism so as to win back his bride.
Spluttering with fury and disbelief at Mr Hawila’s delusional hopes, Mr Kredi said: “I want him to back up a million feet, to go back to where he comes from, to go back as far as he can, not to come near us, not to call my daughter any more, not to try with anything.
"He called her sister last time. And even my daughter. Please, stay far from our family, please.”
Mr Kredi had even taken Mr Hawila to pray alongside him at his synagogue.
The distraught father said: “He acted one thousand percent Jewish.
“What he did is wrong. He passed his limit. He’s smart, but he’s not smart like this. No way what he did can be accepted.
“He hurt me, he fooled me around, he fooled my daughter, he fooled my family. He killed me.” Hawila, 23, adopted the first name Eliya when he emigrated from Lebanon to America in 2015.
He spent five years posing as a religious Jew, visiting Chabad and taking part in prayers and communal life without revealing his secret.
While he was courting his future bride, Hawila told her and her parents that he worked as a spy for the National Security Agency (NSA) to explain why his ID card and passport had a different name on them.
Father-of-five Mr Kredi said: “I asked him where he worked and he said, ‘Yeah I make a lot of money, I can make a lot of money, I work for the government, NSA.’
“That’s what he told me. He even lied with these things.”
Interviewed on the Talkline radio show by presenter Zev Brenner, Mr Kredi described the terrible toll events have taken on his family: “We’ve been talking about it day and night every day. Everybody’s saying it’s my mistake, it’s your mistake, but this has happened to everybody.
“If anybody messes with my daughter, he messes with my life.”
Born in Aleppo, Mr Kredi came to the United States in 1983. He said: “I’m from Syria. I was born with Arabs. I came from Arabs, we know the Arabs, we love the Arabs. They come to us on Saturday for Havdalah, they help us, we talk to them, we love them. In this community we have a lot of Arabs on Fifth Avenue.
“We go to them, they know us, we do business together, we joke together sometimes. I want the whole world to hear me. I’m not against anybody, I love everybody. I love the Arabs, I love the Jews, I love the Christians. I wish for everybody the best. But I don’t want nobody to come near my family if they’re going to fool me about like this.”
Mr Kredi’s daughter had met Hawila on a Jewish dating website, and believed him to be Jewish when they got married earlier this year.
Since his deception was uncovered, she has been living apart from him in a safe house, and has even lost her job as a result of all the public attention.
Mr Kredi said: “It’s going to take time. The pain is not going to go away for two, three, four months. This is big pain he caused. Hashem, he knows why this happened. Slowly everything’s going to go back to normal.
“I hope that Hashem is with her, she’s going to get married. She suffered one year she was with him.”
Mr Kredi was reluctant to speak publicly before deciding it would be helpful for others to hear about the deception he and his family experienced.
“My kids didn’t want everybody to know, but I said, you know something, I want everybody to hear the story. I am not against Hasan Ali or whatever his name is. I want everyone to take the right decision to hear me and understand the pain we are going through.”
He hopes that his family’s experience can be a salutary lesson for Jews and non-Jews alike: “Do not cheat anybody in your life, do not hurt anybody in your life because God is watching everybody in the world.”