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Isaac Herzog won’t apologize for saying intermarriage is a ‘plague’

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Last week, Isaac Herzog, the outgoing Labor leader and newly elected head of the Jewish Agency, opened his new role by saying that intermarriage (particularly in USA) between Jews and non-Jews was a “plague” which required a “solution”. Many have commented on this horror. “It’s not a plague, it’s progress,” Robert Lord opined.

But Forward editor Jane Eisner was accommodating. She suggested that the matter was merely “sensitive”, and that Herzog just needs to learn that it is so, and Eisner was “willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here”.

Benefit of the doubt about what? That he didn’t mean what he said?

Unbelievably, this is the lie that Herzog attempts to insert via Eisner, and she does it willingly:

‘On Wednesday, Herzog told me in a phone call from Israel — his first with an American news outlet — that reactions to the Ynet interview “distorted the meaning and intention of what I said. A Jew is a Jew is a Jew, no matter which stream he belongs to, if he wears a skullcap or not.“ The discourse on interfaith relations is different in Israel, he said. He was using magefa as a slang word: “I didn’t mean it in any negative terms.”

This is veritable nonsense. First of all, the issue of “who is a Jew” (“a Jew is a Jew is a Jew”), is not the issue here, at all. It’s about intermarriage and Herzog calling it a “plague”. And then he’s suggesting that the word he used in Hebrew for “plague”, that is , ‘magefa’, is just slang – he’s thus suggesting that it doesn’t mean what it would mean in English.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you, I know the inside and outside of the Hebrew language and its colloquial usage. You understood it fully in English. It means exactly what you think it means. It is of purely negative connotation. For Herzog to suggest that he “didn’t mean it in any negative terms” is just an insult to the intelligence. Did he not think that English speakers would not notice what he is saying when he has just been elected to the parastatal organization which, according to himself, is the “narrow bridge that connects the State of Israel and the Jewish people wherever they are”? Did Herzog think that if he explains it away so disingenuously to Eisner, that there would not be Hebrew speakers who know that he speaks rubbish?

Jane Eisner, editor of the Forward

But Eisner doesn’t care to check. She’s giving Herzog the benefit of the doubt. Probably because he’s considered a ‘liberal’.

“I’m a liberal in my political beliefs,” Herzog told Eisner. “It is not my role in life to be judgmental.” Except for judging intermarriage to be a “plague”, that is.

And Eisner brushes away the wave of critique about this as “hysterical”. “Hysterical opinion columns ensued”, she wrote, without citing one. One is left to wonder which ones she means, whether she perhaps means all of them, and whether she also means the op-ed in her own paper two days earlier by Rokhl Kafrissen, saying “Intermarriage is not a threat to Jews.” Nope, no specifications. The implicit suggestion is that now, Jane Eisner, who provides Herzog with “his first [interview] with an American news outlet” (on this case, she means), will clarify for us the real meaning of Herzog’s words.

But by uncritically parroting Herzog, Eisner is only providing for more confusion, and giving Herzog an easy way out, without having to apologize for his egregiously offensive words.

And behind those words is a policy. In his article about Herzog’s comments showing the dependence of Zionism on intolerant religious strains in Judaism, Yossi Gurvitz pointed to an ad by the Jewish Agency from 9 years ago (Hebrew), where young Jews who inter-marry are regarded as ‘lost’, where the agency asks to contact them if one knows of such lost souls.

But if Herzog’s words are being whitewashed, the non-Hebrew speakers will think they just didn’t get it right, it’s just Israeli Hebrew jargon, move on. This is like Israelis saying that the goyim don’t get them, because they don’t understand Hebrew. If Herzog thinks that this form of deceit will calm American Jews and bring them closer, I believe he has another thing coming. I could say it to him in Hebrew, but I think he gets the essence of it in English too.

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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44 Responses

  1. Ossinev on July 5, 2018, 1:06 pm

    Apparently in some Zio quarters it`s worse than a plague it`s wait for wait for it wait for it “self genocide” LOL
    See comment from esteemed Rabbi (Dr?) Bernhard Rosenberg:
    “IT is worse than a plague, it is self-genocide. Without bringing up the children in a Jewish atmosphere and educating the children in the Jewish religion , we as a people are destroying ourselves. I encourage a proper conversion . RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG”

    These weirdos have simply no idea of how expletive weird they are.

    • eljay on July 5, 2018, 1:36 pm

      || Ossinev: … “IT is worse than a plague, it is self-genocide. Without bringing up the children in a Jewish atmosphere and educating the children in the Jewish religion , we as a people are destroying ourselves. I encourage a proper conversion . RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG” … ||

      The level of this hyperbole exceeds the level of the “genocide” comment mon donut mocked here.

      No-one will be “destroyed” if people choose to stop embracing the religion-based identity of Jewish.

      • Stephen Shenfield on July 5, 2018, 3:51 pm

        Right. The ‘genocide’ here is the cultural variety. But if cultural re-identification is voluntary then surely it does not qualify as genocide, just as someone who receives a gift has not committed robbery. It is terrible to the respected rabbi because he values not the individual but the Jewish collectivity.

    • Misterioso on July 8, 2018, 12:25 pm

      The “plague” consists of Herzog and his fellow racist loonies.

  2. Stephen Shenfield on July 5, 2018, 1:26 pm

    Magefa is also the name of a death metal band from Frankfurt am Main. Death metal is an ‘extreme subgenre of heavy metal’.

  3. Maghlawatan on July 5, 2018, 3:13 pm

    Herzog is being strategically panicky. If the proportion of “pure” Jews in the population falls then Zionism loses one of its pillars.
    Zionism is a backward reaction to modernity. But modernity wasn’t kind to Jews either 1933-45 and there is trauma too so it is complex.
    The Zionists didn’t manage to build a country attractive enough to most US Jews. They had to import cheapskate far right “Jews” from Russia instead and the fertility rate of the Orthodox and ultra Orthodox did the rest.
    I think Judaism is a total mess at this stage.

  4. wondering jew on July 5, 2018, 3:20 pm

    Mageifa can also mean epidemic,not a positive term, but different than plague.

    Intermarriage is a fact of life. It is a sign of a group shedding its group consciousness. For group proponents, this is a negative. There will be fewer Jews 100 years from now, the phenomenon of the secular jew will diminish from millions to hundreds of thousands, there will be many people who will be proud to be 1/8th jewish, but they will not consider it a central motif of their identity. There was a century or so of transition spanning from tradition to the current apathy and that century was interesting and is valued by some, but the century is over, from here on its an incredible shrinking man story.

    The herzog or Israel slant on the story is political/military and thus ripe for skewering.

    • annie on July 5, 2018, 5:08 pm

      There will be fewer Jews 100 years from now….an incredible shrinking man story.

      oy vey, all that jewish handwringing.

      • RoHa on July 5, 2018, 7:29 pm

        I expect that as the number of Jews (N) declines, the amount of handwringing each one does (W) will increase to maintain a constant level of handwringing (C).

        N x W = C

      • Citizen on July 5, 2018, 7:40 pm

        But they are fighting back: Israeli Education conference speaker: “Building a settlement house equals eliminating 100 Arabs, building a settlement community equals eliminating 10,000 gentiles.” He drew wide applause & got a certificate of appreciation. 98% goy USA funds it,7340,L-5303225,00.html … via @ynet

      • RoHa on July 5, 2018, 9:10 pm

        Where N>0, of course.

      • echinococcus on July 5, 2018, 11:07 pm

        No, no. A low N, but even more than that, a negative N brings camels carrying gold, precious gems and diplomatic protection.
        $ = 1/ζ (Νt-Ν0) x $0, ζ being the zionization constant. Meaning that the resources (paid by the taxpayer-or-common-stockholder) thrown at the Racial Cause are in inverse ratio to the effective numbers. This is also called the Despair Effect.

      • Mooser on July 6, 2018, 12:25 pm

        “This is also called the Despair Effect.”

        Oh, you mean the tsitsa-makhers?

        Tsitsa makher – A person who is always upset and disappointed. “Commonly, elderly Jews who are often disappointed in life, sit around all day saying “Tsi Tsa, Tsi Tsa, Tsi Tsa”.” (One comedian described it as sounding like a swarm of grasshoppers.)”

    • eljay on July 5, 2018, 5:48 pm

      || Yonah Fredman: … Intermarriage is a fact of life. It is a sign of a group shedding its group consciousness. … ||

      Or it could simply be a sign of a group’s individuals choosing other identities with/in which to be happy. Happiness – even if it isn’t Jewish – is good.  :-)

      • Marnie on July 6, 2018, 12:05 am

        “Happiness – even if it isn’t Jewish – is good. :-)”

        eljay – thanks for something normal to read after herzog and his friends, plus the local sage yonah dreadman.

    • Keith on July 5, 2018, 5:51 pm

      YONAH FREDMAN- “There will be fewer Jews 100 years from now….”

      Thanks to the law of supply and demand, that will make you more valuable. Your ship has come in! The Yonah Fredman futures market.

    • Mooser on July 5, 2018, 5:52 pm

      “thus ripe for skewering.”

      “political/military”, and biological.

    • Xpat on July 9, 2018, 9:26 pm

      “Mageifa can also mean epidemic,not a positive term, but different than plague.”

      That, at least, is fair. In other words, his focus was not on the horror of the affliction but on the scope of intermarriage. Either way, as you say, Herzog’s attitude is “not positive.” In fact, he makes his position very clear in the rest of the interview. Herzog simply doesn’t understand American Jews. He cherry picks anecdotes to pass judgment on an entire community. He is particularly unqualified to be head of the Jewish Agency, a secular Israeli group (which makes a show of non-Israeli participation) that makes the preposterous claim of speaking for all Jews, Israeli or not.

  5. JLewisDickerson on July 5, 2018, 5:22 pm

    RE: A Jew is a Jew is a Jew, no matter which stream he belongs to, if he wears a skullcap or not.“ The discourse on interfaith relations is different in Israel, he said. He was using magefa as a slang word: “I didn’t mean it in any negative terms.” ~ Herzog

    MY COMMENT: A plague is a plague is a plague, and Sheldon Adelson is one hell of a plague!

    SEE: “Israel’s sugar daddy, Sheldon Adelson” | by Brad A. Greenberg | | June 27, 2008

    [EXCERPT] . . . Adelson’s reach hasn’t been limited to charity. In fact, some say he uses money to meddle in Israeli politics, pushing a right-wing vision void of a peace process through his connections with American politicians—Bush called the Republican donor “some crazy Jewish billionaire”—and his free daily newspaper, Israel Hayom, which observers criticize as being stuffed with propaganda for Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

    At a formal dinner attended by more than a hundred senior officials of various Israeli and Jewish organizations, guests were offered the opportunity to tell Peres what they considered the biggest challenge facing the Jewish people. Adelson, according to Ha’aretz, declared, “I think Jews should have lots of sex. That is the solution to our demographic problem.” . . .

    INTERNET ARCHIVE (June 27, 2008) –

    • JLewisDickerson on July 5, 2018, 5:40 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE:
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –

      (EXCERPT) Lebensborn e.V. (literally: “Fount of Life”) was an SS-initiated, state-supported, registered association in Nazi Germany with the goal of raising the birth rate of “Aryan” children via extramarital relations of persons classified as “racially pure and healthy” based on Nazi racial hygiene and health ideology. Lebensborn encouraged anonymous births by unmarried women, and mediated adoption of these children by likewise “racially pure and healthy” parents, particularly SS members and their families.

      Initially set up in Germany in 1935, Lebensborn expanded into several occupied European countries with Germanic populations during the Second World War. It included the selection of “racially worthy” orphans for adoption and care for children born from Aryan women who had been in relationships with SS members. It originally excluded children born from unions between common soldiers and foreign women, because there was no proof of racial purity on both sides. During the war, many children were kidnapped from their parents and judged by “aryan” criteria for their suitability to be raised in Lebensborn homes, and fostering by German families.

      At the Nuremberg Trials, much direct evidence was found of the kidnapping of children by Nazi Germany, across Greater Germany during the period 1939-45. . .

      The Handmaid’s Tale || June in the red center || Season 2 Episode 4

  6. Rusty Pipes on July 5, 2018, 6:19 pm

    One would think that even the most secular Jews who only hear the word once a year at Passover would know what it means. But maybe there was only an inconvenience of locusts, a straying of frogs, a dilution of blood, a common cold of the first-born.

  7. echinococcus on July 5, 2018, 8:16 pm

    Who gives a rat’s ass if the genocidal fool apologizes or not? Who needs his apologies? Why is that an item?

    It’s more of the same goddam nonsense, day in, day out. Goodcop Zionist protesting against Badcop Zionist, Semi-sweet Zionist half-contradicting semi-tart Zionist, not-a-Zionist making respectful representations to Diehard Zionist… it’s somehow getting to generating boredom because we always know, infallibly, the scene before “The End” appears on the screen. They kiss up.

    • Marnie on July 6, 2018, 12:07 am

      And we throw up. You’re so right.

    • Kathleen on July 9, 2018, 2:36 pm

      Obviously another attempt to protect and sustain ethnocentricity in a not very subtle effort to repackage

  8. Tom Suarez on July 5, 2018, 11:23 pm

    Two relevant extracts from the book State of Terror
    • From a letter home by the American Paul Siegel in 1937: “If a Jew & an Arab are seen walking together, both are punished [by the Jewish settlers], tho the Arab is punished much more severely than the Jew.” (p47)
    • [In 1946] A new terror organization began appearing about this time, Otsray Ha Magifa—literally “the stoppers of the epidemic,” this “epidemic” being friendships between Jews and non-Jews and the threat to the “purity” of “Jewish blood” such friendships posed. The terror group is said to have seriously wounded a recalcitrant Jewish girl with acid, leaving her blind in one eye. (p139)

  9. Misterioso on July 6, 2018, 10:45 am

    To state the obvious, these panic stricken Zionist zealots like Herzog are really screwed up. By attempting to prevent Jews from marrying and having children with non-Jews, they are emulating the Nazis who forbade “Aryan” intermarriage with Jews.

    • Mooser on July 6, 2018, 12:36 pm

      This is all so sad. What happens when people breed within a group which is too small?

      And there’s no consideration of genetic disease risks (keep on scrolling) in the discussion from Herzog? Or any other in-marriage ‘advocate’?

      • John O on July 6, 2018, 4:02 pm

        There’s a very good reason why incest is taboo in every society.

      • Mooser on July 6, 2018, 6:45 pm

        “There’s a very good reason why incest …”

        I think this has very little to nothing to do with anything which might be called “incest”.
        No one has to come anywhere near “incest” to be concerned about “Jewish genetic disease*.”

        *Their words, not mine!

      • echinococcus on July 6, 2018, 8:22 pm

        Well, Mooser, their words are worth a special trip. Get a load of this:

        All couples with ANY Jewish ancestry, including interfaith couples, should have pre-conception carrier screening for Jewish genetic diseases.

        Avoid being born to the wrong faith! Now you can understand why no Palestinian can be admitted to Jewishness: not a matter of racism, it’s simply that his religion is genetic disease!

        I’ve always known that any fool can become a physician but for pure crazy one needs to be a Zysician.

      • Mooser on July 7, 2018, 1:03 pm

        “All couples with ANY Jewish ancestry…”

        It may be all very funny to you, “Echin”, but that headline and:

        “When an individual is identified as a carrier, they should let their partner know, as two carriers of the same recessive genetic disease have a 25% (or 1 in 4) chance that each of their children will be affected”
        And then three-foot-long list.

        That scared me so bad I swore off masturbation, too. Why take chances?

      • echinococcus on July 7, 2018, 5:47 pm


        I’m not scared: thalassemia is relatively manageable. Tay-Sachs disease, not so much. While both, of course, rain equally on the faithful and the faithless.

      • Mooser on July 8, 2018, 12:16 pm

        “While both, of course, rain equally on the faithful and the faithless.”

        Or as the JGDC says, in the “For Rabbis and Cantors” page:

        “Screening is based on family heritage. Jewish genetic heritage does not depend on religious practice or observance.”

      • echinococcus on July 8, 2018, 2:40 pm

        Or as the JGDC says, in the “For Rabbis and Cantors” page…:

        I did read it and that’s precisely what I’ve been telling you all the time.
        And how sweetly it says it! That’s just the level of illogic that might be marketable to Rabbis and Cantors, I wouldn’t know about their cerebral structure. Or to invader offspring in Zionist-occupied Palestine.

        So let me see,
        iiiif (swaying movement)

        Jewish genetic heritage does not depend on religious practice or observance

        …theeeen (ampler swaying movement)
        the Ahkenaze, the Ethiopians, the Baghdadis, the Romans, the Sefardí…
        [continue filling the blanks]
        have the same genetic diseases.

        I mean, it would make sense among the invader offspring, if they did mix enough, that is (which is a whole nother chapter.)
        Now please stop, at times I get ribcage pain from laughing, at others I cry for how low the medical profession has fallen… John S and now this!

      • Mooser on July 8, 2018, 5:21 pm

        “Now please stop, at times I get ribcage pain from laughing, at others I cry for how low the medical profession has fallen…” “Echin”

        Yes, your hold on stability has seemed rather tenuous lately.

  10. genesto on July 6, 2018, 12:37 pm

    I know I’m a bit late with this, but I’d like to report my wife to the Jewish Agency as one of the ‘lost souls’, since she married me, a non Jew, 18 years ago.

    As far as helping her find herself by getting rid of me, though, I wouldn’t waste the Agency’s time. She’s perfectly content remaining ‘lost’, thank you!

    • Talkback on July 6, 2018, 4:04 pm

      Genesto, the case is not hopeless. Let’s pray that you will have a lot of female descendants who can pass on the kosher genes.

  11. satrappist on July 6, 2018, 1:38 pm

    entropy rules

    their own words / actions / rules / beliefs



    i write as one much educated/enlightened by mn & cn via recent years

    watching volumz via nitv

    dipping in to ongoing appraisal of current state of play populated by ferociously well informed & willing intellects

    you folks set a high bar

    but i’m up fer a dip

    fg roha annie realist joe t mike k bob van irene et al et al et al

    { i know, sounds like an nomenaclature for an airline}

    by the way

    the australian diplomat involved with the (orange marmoset)’s papadoulis is alexander downer

    so much material for matters serious an’ not


    see for how this third generation tory politician used his position as a minister of the crown
    [we’re not only a satrap of current empire
    we remain a segment of previous empire]

    to (allegedly) direct actions on sovereign soil (not australian) to advantage private enterprise

    (allegedly) woodhouse petroleum

    alexander downer commenced a form of employment with woodhouse petroleum after retiring from the position of minister of foreign affairs (ausgov)

    much more considered, nay informed,information at


    please see

    professor damien kingsbury

    deakin university motorcycle correspondent

    he’d be worth checking out

  12. Roger S on July 6, 2018, 1:39 pm

    “I’m a liberal in my political beliefs,” Herzog told Eisner. “It is not my role in life to be judgmental.”

    Liberal politicians are in my experience the most judgmental. Name-callers – “Fascist”, “Racist”, “Despicables”, “Anti-semitic”, “Self-haters”, ad naseum… People who use epithets to stop all civil discussion by excluding the opposing ideas by denigrating those who hold them as beneath them and shouting them down before they can even listen.

  13. ejran on July 8, 2018, 9:43 am

    I would like to find numbers on this- the rate of intermarriage between Jews and non Jews in Israel. And then, of course, I could swear it is always a non-Jewish man and a Jewish woman. This is probably irrelevant and not the place for this discussion, but as an arab woman of religious minority, the glaring, sexist double standard in this issue angers me: Palestinians would rally in support of a mixed wedding only when the woman is the “other”. It is exactly the same between Muslims and Christians in our so-called “tolerant” societies. We take your women, but we would never give ours. What would then happen to a household? (Because, of course, a household is defined by the religion of the father). Until a muslim woman is free by law to marry a christian, until a christian or muslim woman is free to marry a jew, until a christian woman can love a muslim without fearing being shot to death by her male relatives (at worst) or having to cut ties with her entire family (at best), all this talk of coexistence is nonsense. All this boasting of how forgiving and tolerant our societies are is pathetic. This conflation of religion and race is the root of all evil. True, with islam and christianity in the middle east (I hate the term; Arab countries, rather) it is less a question of “purity” and more a question of identity, but it is still a similar problem. It is the belief that an American Jew has more right to a land than those who were born there, because of his “genes”. It is the idea that an American man is by default a christian and is therefore “closer” (genetically? culturally? spiritually? racially?) to me than my muslim friend with whom I share the same language and the same culture; it is the idea that any random Malaysian or Turkish or woman would definitely make a better mother for that muslim man’s children, just because she is a muslim. Religious identity is dangerous. The idea of “jewish blood” is misleading and dangerous, and I feel that, post 9-11, a similar idea of “muslim blood” is being perpetuated earth-wide and is taking hold of people’s minds. People use the words arab or palestinian or jordanian less often- they say muslim, using it as an ethnicity.

    • echinococcus on July 8, 2018, 11:32 am

      any random Malaysian or Turkish or woman would definitely make a better mother for that muslim man’s children

      Amen to what you say for the first two, but would it be sexist to ask for a woman to make a mother, even as a third choice?

      • ejran on July 10, 2018, 10:02 am

        Oops, that second “or” was there by mistake; I meant to say, “Any random Turkish or Malaysian woman”. (I don’t know if it’s possible to make an edit in an already-published comment- is it?)

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