By Erica ChernofskyBBC Information, Jerusalem
Intermarriage – when Jews wed non-Jews – happens to be known as a danger to the future success of the nation that is jewish. So what happened when there have been reports that the Israeli prime minister’s son ended up being dating a non-jew that is norwegian?
The Norwegian day-to-day Dagen the other day reported that Norwegian Sandra Leikanger and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair are really a few, to that your office of Mr Netanyahu has responded – in accordance with atheist dating online Israeli news – by insisting they’re only college classmates. However the damage was already done.
Leikanger is not Jewish, an undeniable fact which includes sparked outrage in Israel, A jewish country which since its inception has battled to possess its Jewish character recognised throughout the world. While Judaism just isn’t a proselytising religion, Leikanger, like any non-Jew, comes with the option of converting should she wish to become Jewish.
Intermarriage and assimilation are quintessential Jewish fears and now have been called a threat to your future success of the reasonably tiny nation that is jewish. In accordance with law that is jewish the religion is handed down through the mother, therefore if a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish girl, kids would not be considered Jews.
The chance that young ones of a blended couple would keep or transfer any Jewish traditions to future generations is radically diminished. As today’s price of intermarriage among Diaspora Jews stands above 50%, the majority are worried that the nation that survived persecution, pogroms therefore the Holocaust could die out of eventually its undoing.
The anxiety ended up being expressed within an open letter to Yair Netanyahu by the Israeli organization Lehava, which works to avoid assimilation, in a post on its Facebook web page, which warned him that his grand-parents “are switching over within their graves they didn’t dream that their grandchildren would not be Jews”.
The issue of intermarriage has mainly been one for Diaspora Jews – the Jews who live outside Israel. Inside Israel, Jews (75% of this population) and Arabs (21%) seldom marry, however with an influx of foreign employees and globalisation of the Israeli community, in recent years the phenomenon has emerged.
“Jesus forbid, if it is true, woe is me,” says Aryeh Deri, leader for the Ultra-Orthodox Shas party, to a regional radio place, lamenting the news headlines that the prime minister’s son ended up being dating a non-Jew. ” I do not like speaing frankly about personal dilemmas but whether it’s true God forbid, then it is no further an individual matter – it’s the icon of this Jewish people.”
The popular Israeli satirical television show, aired a parody showcasing infamous historical oppressors of the Jews including the biblical Pharaoh and the Spanish inquisitor over the weekend, Eretz Nehederet. The show culminated with Yair Netanyahu’s non-Jewish girlfriend, whom they called the “newest existential threat”. She sang of a shikse, a non-Jewish girl, sarcastically crooning that she’s “worse than Hitler”.
But jokes apart, perhaps the prime minister’s brother-in-law, Hagai Ben-Artzi, spoke out highly on their event, warning their nephew that when he does not end their relationship with Leikanger, it really is as if he’s spitting in the graves of their grandparents.
“From my perspective, I personally won’t allow him to get near their graves,” he told an Ultra-Orthodox website if he does such a thing. ” This is actually the most awful thing that is threatening and had been a danger through the reputation for the Jewish people. More awful than leaving Israel is wedding with a gentile. In such a circumstance, God forbid, I’ll bury myself I don’t understand where. We’ll walk into the streets and tear down my hair – and right here this will be taking place.”
Anyone who’s watched Fiddler on the Roof, where Tevye claims his child is dead to him for marrying a non-Jew, knows the problem has always been an one that is sensitive Jews.
But Dr Daniel Gordis, an author and expert commentator on Israel and Judaism, says who has changed into the past few years, specially in the Diaspora Jewish community.
Whereas once it had been greatly frowned upon for the Jew of any stream to marry a non-Jew, today, among unaffiliated (no synagogue), non-denominational (those who do not identify with any movement), conservative or reform Jews, it is not the taboo it used to be. The intermarriage rates of non-denominational Jews approach 80%, he says.
But among Orthodox Jews plus in Israel, it’s still a lot more controversial.
“It’s not just a racial problem, it is not a superiority problem, it isn’t a xenophobia issue,” he states, explaining that there are two good reasons for the opposition to intermarriage, one of which is it is merely forbidden in Halacha, or law that is jewish.
“The other thing is that Jews have come to see that truly the only real option to transmit effective Jewish identity to their kids is for them to be raised by two Jewish parents. Young ones raised by one Jewish parent and one non-Jewish parent do have more tepid, more fragile, thinner Jewish identities than their Jewish moms and dads did.
“they’re statistically prone to marry non-Jews. There isn’t any guarantee, but statistically it’s nearly impossible to make a kid with all the sense that is same of passion that the older generation has if he is raised by somebody who does not share that tale.”
The effect, he adds, is that in the us, ” there’s a sense that is rapidly eroding of commitment, a whole collapsing of Jewish literacy, and a thinning of Jewish identity”.
So Israelis are petrified, claims Rabbi Dr Donniel Hartman, mind regarding the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jewish studies, because since intermarriage is really uncommon here, when an Israeli marries a non-Jew they see it as if he is making Judaism.
” When you’re a little people and you lose your constituents it makes you quite nervous. Our company is 14 million Jews in the world, that’s it,” he explains. ” just What’s changed in modern Jewish life outside of Israel is that a Jew marrying a non-Jew doesn’t necessarily mean leaving Jewish life anymore.”
This is usually a phenomenon that is new Judaism, and Hartman claims Jews must rise to the challenge.
“The battle against intermarriage is just a missing battle. We have been a people that are intermarried – the issue is not how to stop it, but just how to get in touch with non-Jewish spouses and welcome them into our community,” he states.
“Our outreach has to be better, our institutions need to be better, our experiences that are jewish to be more compelling, we must take effect much harder.
” Living in the contemporary globe requires one to be nimble. Things are changing, I do not understand whether or not it’s for the worse or not, which will depend on what we do. However the globe is evolving, so we have to evolve with it.”