Shared values?

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Outrage that a poet who married a non-Jew might be featured on Israeli currency– from a rightwing Israeli news site:

Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi, a Bar Ilan University lecturer and brother in-law of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, slammed the government’s plan to issue currency with the likeness of Hebrew poet Shaul Tchernichovsky. Turning Tchernichovsky into a “national icon” was a terrible idea and would set a bad example – because of his longtime marriage to a Christian woman, he explained.

“We cannot turn him into a national symbol, since he disdained such an important component of Jewish identity and intermarried, increasing assimilation,” Ben-Artzi said.

This story is a reminder of Israel’s importance to many Jews and Jewish organizations, preserving Jewish “continuity,” by keeping Jews from marrying out. Dennis Ross is engaged in this enterprise, heading the Jewish People Policy Institute, which opposes intermarriage.

But where are the shared values? I first got engaged on religious-political issues 15 years ago when Protestant Bob Jones University’s ban on interracial dating was drawing national political opprobrium; and I pointed out that the American Jewish community’s policies to stop people from doing what I’d done– falling in love with and marrying a non-Jew– were just as bad. 

By the way, others are complaining that the new Israeli banknotes will only bear images of Ashkenazi Jews. Gershom Gorenberg’s report.

Update: This post originally stated that Bob Jones is a Catholic University. It is Protestant.

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