by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
local authority in Israel has announced that it is establishing a
special team of youth counsellors and psychologists whose job it will
be to identify young Jewish women who are dating Arab men and “rescue”
move by the municipality of Petah Tikva, a city close to Tel Aviv, is
the latest in a series of separate -- and little discussed --
initiatives from official bodies, rabbis, private organisations and
groups of Israeli residents to try to prevent interracial dating and
a related development, the Israeli media reported this month that
residents of Pisgat Zeev, a large Jewish settlement in the midst of
Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, had formed a
vigilante-style patrol to stop Arab men from mixing with local Jewish
to intimate relationships developing across Israel’s ethnic divide is
shared by many Israeli Jews, who regard such behaviour as a threat to
the state’s Jewishness. One of the few polls on the subject, in 2007,
found that more than half of Israeli Jews believed intermarriage should
be equated with “national treason”.
the state’s founding in 1948, analysts have noted, a series of legal
and administrative measures have been taken by Israel to limit the
possibilities of close links developing between Jewish and Arab
citizens, the latter comprising a fifth of the population.
segregated communities and separate education systems mean that there
are few opportunities for young Arabs and Jews to become familiarised
with each other. Even in the handful of “mixed cities”, Arab residents
are usually confined to separate neighbourhoods.
addition, civil marriage is banned in Israel, meaning that in the small
number of cases where Jews and Arabs want to wed, they can do so only
by leaving the country for a ceremony abroad. The marriage is
recognised on the couple’s return.
Yonay, a sociologist at Haifa University, said the number of
interracial marriages was “too small to be studied”. “Separation
between Jews and Arabs is so ingrained in Israeli society, it is
surprising that anyone manages to escape these central controls.”
team in Petah Tikva, a Jewish city of 200,000 residents, was created in
direct response to news that two Jewish girls, aged 17 and 19, were
accompanying a group of young Arab men when they allegedly beat a
Jewish man, Leonard Karp, to death last month on a Tel Aviv beach. The
older girl was from Petah Tikva.
girls’ involvement with the Arab youths has revived general concern
that a once-firm taboo against interracial dating is beginning to erode
among some young people.
sentiments widely shared, Hezi Hakak, a spokesman for Petah Tikva
municipality, said “Russian girls” -- young Jewish women whose parents
arrived in Israel over the past two decades, since the collapse of the
former Soviet Union -- were particularly vulnerable to the attention of
Yonay said Russian women were less closed to the idea of relationships
with Arab men because they “did not undergo the religious and Zionist
education” to which more established Israeli Jews were subject.
Mr Hakak said the municipality had created a hotline that parents and friends of the Jewish women could use to inform on them.
can’t tell the girls what to do but we can send a psychologist to their
home to offer them and their parents advice,” he said.
Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.
Zaft, the deputy mayor, told the Ynet website that the municipality was
also cracking down on city homeowners who illegally subdivide
apartments to rent them cheaply to single Arab men looking for work in
the Tel Aviv area. He estimated that several hundred Arab men had moved
into the city as a result.
Petah Tikva’s hostility to Arab men mixing with local Jewish women is shared by other communities.
Pisgat Zeev, a settlement of 40,000 Jews, some 35 Jewish men are
reported to belong to a patrol known as “Fire for Judaism” that tries
to stop interracial dating.
member, who identified himself as Moshe to the Jerusalem Post
newspaper, said: “Our goal is to be in contact with these girls and try
to explain to them the dangers of what they’re getting themselves into.
In the last 10 years, 60 girls from Pisgat Zeev have gone into
[Palestinian] villages [in the West Bank]. And most of them aren’t
heard from after that.”
He denied that violence or threats were used against Arab men.
year, the municipality of Kiryat Gat, a town of 50,000 Jews in southern
Israel, launched a programme in schools to warn Jewish girls of the
dangers of dating local Bedouin men. The girls were shown a video
titled Sleeping with the Enemy, which describes mixed couples as an
Shalom, head of the municipality’s welfare department, is filmed
saying: “The girls, in their innocence, go with the exploitative Arab.”
A police representative also warns that the Bedouin men’s “goal is to
take advantage of the girls. There is no element of love or an innocent
friendly relationship here.”
2004, posters sprang up all over the northern town of Safed warning
Jewish women that dating Arab men would lead to “beatings, hard drugs,
prostitution and crime”.
chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, told a local newspaper that the “seducing”
of Jewish girls was “another form of war” by Arab men.
Kiryat Gat and Safed’s campaigns were supported by a religious
organisation called Yad L’achim, which runs an anti-assimilation team
publicly dedicated to “saving” Jewish women.
to its website, the organisation receives more than 100 calls a month
about Jewish women living with Arab men, both in Israel and the West
Bank. It launches “military-like rescues [of the women] from hostile
Arab villages” in co-ordination with the police and army.
Jewish soul is a precious, all-too-rare resource, and we are not
prepared to give up on even a single one,” says the website.
L’achim’s founder, Rabbi Shlomo Dov Lifschitz, is quoted on the site
saying: “People must understand that Jewish-Arab marriages are part of
the larger Israeli-Arab conflict. … They [Arab men] see it as their
goal to marry them [Jewish women] and ensure that their childen aren’t
raised as Jews. This is their revenge against the Jewish people. They
feel that if they can’t defeat us in war, they can wipe us out this
degree of general opposition in Israel to interracial marriage was
suggested by a government-backed television ad campaign earlier this
month that urged Israeli Jews to inform on relatives abroad who were in
danger of marrying a non-Jew. The ads were hastily withdrawn by
surprised Israeli officials after many US Jews took offence.
her book Birthing the Nation, Rhoda Kanaaneh, a Middle East scholar at
New York University, points out that “politicians frequently attack
‘peace’ or ‘dialogue’ programs for promoting miscegenation” in fear
that it will lead to Jewish assimilation.
also notes that Israel’s adoption and surrogacy laws require that
adoptive parents be of the same ethnic group as the biological mother.
Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest
books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the
Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing
Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His
website is www.jkcook.net.
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