The next day, she said, she remembered that she had hidden her life savings inside the old mattress. "I woke up in the morning screaming, when it hit me what happened," said the Tel Aviv woman, who asked not to be identified.
She went to look for the mattress, but it had already been hauled away by garbage collectors, she said. Searches at three different landfill sites turned up nothing.
She said the money was in US dollars and Israeli shekels. She refused to say how she acquired such a large sum. "It was all my money in the world," she said. There was no way to verify her claims, and she refused to disclose key details.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said he was not familiar with the case and no report had been filed.
The Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot published a picture of the woman searching through garbage at a dump in southern Israel. The picture shows the woman, dressed in a white top and black pants with her back to the camera, picking through a huge pile of trash that fills the frame about 10 feet (3 meters) in all directions.
Yitzhak Borba, the dump manager, told Army Radio that his staff was helping the woman, saying she appeared "totally desperate." He said the mattress was hard to find among the 2,500 tons of garbage that arrives at the site every day.
He said he increased security at the site to keep would-be treasure hunters away.
The woman said the money had been stashed in a mattress because she had had "traumatic experiences with banks" in the past. She would not elaborate.