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Israeli politicians condemn marriage of Jewish and Muslim celebrities as effort to ‘hurt our state’

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On Wednesday, the Israeli-Arab-Muslim TV host Lucy Aharish (the first to host a Hebrew-speaking show) and Israeli-Jewish actor Tzahi Halevy (known from Netflix TV series Fauda), got married.

Their ceremony was what could only be considered unofficial in Israel, at the beach in Hadera. This is because Israeli law does not permit interfaith marriage. The option left to such couples is to conduct an unofficial ceremony in Israel, but do the actual official marriage in another country, where this then gets retroactively recognized by the state. Aharish and Halevy have held the relationship under the radar for some three years, to avoid the backlash – which surely came. Various politicians from the right condemned and bemoaned the marriage. Minister of Interior Arye Deri said:

“pain of assimilation worldwide is consuming the Jewish people. It’s their own private affair. But, as a Jew, I have to tell you that I’m against such things because we must preserve the Jewish people. (Their) children will grow up, go to school and later want to get married, and then they’ll face difficult problems. If she [Aharish] desires Judaism, then there’s the process of conversion”.

Likud Lawmaker Oren Hazan was more vitriolic on Facebook and Twitter:

“I don’t blame Lucy Aharish for seducing the soul of a Jewish man in order to hurt our state and prevent more Jewish offspring from continuing the Jewish lineage. On the contrary, she’s welcomed to convert to Judaism. I do blame Tsahi the IslamLevi, who took (TV show) Fauda one step too far. Bro, snap out of it. Lucy, it’s not personal, but know that Tsahi is my brother and the people of Israel are my people. No more assimilation.”

Although Aharish defines herself as most Israelis would want it – “Arab-Israeli” – she comes from a Palestinian society, where even those who are Israeli citizens like her, define themselves as Palestinians by a ratio of 2 out of 3. Aharish and Halvy seemed to have been aware of this paradigm – “We are signing a peace accord”, the couple joked in their wedding invitation. Aharish has in the past made clear that her identity was first and foremost ‘Israeli’ – and that nationalist affiliation was for her even higher in rank than being a woman. In 2015 she told the Times of Israel:

“Today, when people ask me ‘What are you?’ I say that I’m an Israeli. I’m not ashamed of my Israeliness. Then I’m a woman, and then I’m an Arab Muslim. That’s the order: Israeli, woman, Arab Muslim.”

Aharish also performed nationalist rituals for Israel, as when she lit a torch at the Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl in 2015, for her work as a “trailblazing Muslim journalist.”

On the face of it, you can hardly get more “assimilated” than Lucy Aharish, in the Israeli-national sense. She is placed right where many Zionists want ‘Arabs’ placed: Proud to be ‘Israeli’ (although no such nationality exists ), accepting of the discrimination they suffer (which Lucy Aharish is aware of), and dismissive of the Palestinian connection altogether in their self-definition.

But this is of course not enough to avert the “plague”, because when all is said and done, Lucy Aharish is not Jewish, hence she does not belong to the master-race.

The Zionist left was nonetheless quick to condemn the outrageously racist remarks mentioned above. This is not surprizing, because Aharish represents the ‘good Arab’.  

Labor lawmaker Stav Shafir from the Zionist Union wrote on social media:

“I’ll say this gently: The brave and good-hearted Lucy Aharish understands what being a Jew means better than the person who tweeted that sickening and racist post I’m forced to share here—in the hopes everyone sees who we’re dealing with and what filth Netanyahu has brought into our homes”.

Alas, Shafir’s statement portrays precisely the ‘liberal-Zionist’ hypocrisy – Lucy Aharish is kosher, by some kind of a ‘Jewish’ standard, which is actually more Zionist than it is Jewish. Why did Shafir use that language? She was actually echoing a statement by her party leader Avi Gabbay, who said last year that “the left has forgotten what it means to be Jewish”, and Gabbay was echoing Netanyahu. Thus the hypocrisy circle is completed – the Zionist left chides the Zionist right while pandering to it.

Oren Hazan, completely aware of this hypocrisy, used it in defense of his own earlier statements:

“Your reactions, which try to turn assimilation into the right and heroic thing to do, explain what Prime Minister Netanyahu and Zionist Union chairman [Avi] Gabbay when they said: ‘The left has forgotten what it means to be Jewish'”.

Indeed, the Zionist left and center has been very involved in such racist condemnation of mixing with “Arabs”. Former left leader Isaac Herzog had warned the Zionist Union about being perceived as “Arab lovers”, and just a few months ago, when entering his new role as head of Jewish Agency, he decried intermarriage, especially in USA, as a “plague”.

In the Zionist ‘liberal center’, we have lawmaker Yair Lapid, who in the wake of a so-called “mixed marriage” in 2014 (so-called because both partners were Muslim – the woman had simply converted from Judaism), said: “It would bother me if my son married a non-Jew… It would bother me greatly.”

So now, Labor lawmaker Shelly Yachimovitch, who happened to “agree with everything” Yair Lapid said when he was making the above comment, takes her turn to condemn the racist statements from the right, using the Harry Potter metaphor: “There’s nothing new under the sun. The Death Eaters, as you may remember, believed only pure-bloods were allowed to exist, and anyone who married a Muggle was considered a blood traitor. And I’m sorry for using too subtle a metaphor,” she wrote.

Yair Lapid also chimed in against the Aharish-Halevy marriage yesterday, saying that intermarriage is problematic because “we haven’t recovered from the Holocaust yet.” Speaking on Army Radio, Lapid declared that he has “a problem with intermarriage” and prefers “that the Jewish people grow and not shrink. Now there are fewer Jews than there were before the Holocaust and we’re trying to grow.” Lapid’s ‘liberal’ condemnation of the statements from the right were not about their actual morally revolting character, but rather about their timing: 

“Let’s say someone doesn’t like this, they couldn’t wait a week? On the couple’s happy day they had to say that?”   

Center-leftist Zionist Union lawmaker Yoel Hasson added to the condemnation of the right:

“The racist, benighted and embarrassing face we cannot look at anymore. Just imagine what would happen if the Likud Party got 30 seats and more again.”

But that racist, benighted and embarrassing face is not just of the right. It is very much the face of Zionism, right left and center. The condemnations from the left are like half a face condemning the other half for looking ugly.

Zionism is about a Jewish racial-nationalist exclusivity. It may be that the Zionist left has more liberal make-up on, but it’s the same face. And it’s a huge problem.

These so-called ‘mixed marriages’ are extremely rare anyway. Data from 2015 shows that out of some 58,000 registered marriages, only 23 were between ‘Arabs and Jews’. That’s less than one out of two-thousand (less than 0.05%), in a state where the Israeli-Palestinian citizenry is about 20%. We’re obviously hearing the noise about this one because the two are celebrities. In general, there’s just a roaring silence about this cultural Apartheid, which is deeply societally engrained. Of course, this is more than just about assimilation and Jews vis-à-vis non-Jews. When we are speaking of ‘Jews and Arabs’ we’re actually speaking of the colonialist context of Jewish State and Palestinians. So this is not just about religion. It is about hegemony, it is about racial dominance and purity, and that’s a very Zionist matter. Zionists cannot throw stones in this glasshouse.   

After all that said, best wishes to the newlyweds.

H/t David Sheen  

Jonathan Ofir

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

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28 Responses

  1. eljay on October 15, 2018, 12:49 pm

    Nothing says “progressive paradise” like a religion-supremacist state whose politicians have as one of their primary goals the preservation of the purity of their religion-based identity.

    But as any Zionist will proudly point out, the “progressive paradise” – and “moral beacon” and “light unto the nations” – state of Israel isn’t quite as bad as Saudi Arabia, Mali, African “hellholes”, etc.

  2. Kay24 on October 15, 2018, 1:10 pm

    Israel does not permit interfaith marriages? No it can’t be, they are the only true democracy in the Middle East, and are open minded, and a beacon of shining light. We have seen the bragging comments from the Hasbara pests, time and time again. So the “master” race does not want to marry any goyim. Bigots pretending to be broad minded.

  3. Maximus Decimus Meridius on October 15, 2018, 2:35 pm

    Which just goes to show: No matter how much an Arab – any Arab – tries to pander to Israelis, to renounce their own culture, offer excuses for their own oppression, it will never, ever, be enough. Zionism doesn’t work that way.

    • Marnie on October 16, 2018, 1:17 am

      @MDM – You couldn’t be more right. Lucy is being used by the so-called progressive Stav Shaffir (kind of like Kanye and tRUMP) and I hope she will stop fronting for the zionist state as a ‘good arab’ while sacrificing her own best interests and those of her people. How long will her husband be able to take the heat that she’s getting – not very damn long I wager.

  4. Citizen on October 15, 2018, 5:02 pm

    And American politicians will continue to tell us how U and Israel share the same values. I’ve never seen them questioned about this by the US corporate news media, have you?

  5. Citizen on October 15, 2018, 5:08 pm

    Israel’s ‘nation-state law’ parallels the Nazi Nuremberg Laws @AJEnglish

  6. Eva Smagacz on October 15, 2018, 5:14 pm

    “Which just goes to show: No matter how much an Arab – any Arab – tries to pander to Israelis, to renounce their own culture, offer excuses for their own oppression, it will never, ever, be enough. Zionism doesn’t work that way”

    Heads up: I”m about to commit an ANTI-IHRAISM:

    Which just goes to show: No matter how much a Jew– any Jew – tries to pander to Europeans, to renounce their own culture, offer excuses for their own oppression, it will never, ever, be enough. Anti-Semitism doesn’t work that way


  7. Jackdaw on October 16, 2018, 12:49 am

    Lucy Aharish is a woman of valour.
    I wish the couple, best wishes.

    Mazal tov!

    Jonathan. Why don’t you strap on a set, and go find out what Arabs think about this mixed wedding.


    • Misterioso on October 16, 2018, 10:46 am


      To be brief:

      Marriage between Muslims and Jews (or Christians) is not prohibited in Islam, which like Christianity, but unlike Judaism, is not exclusionary or tribal. Indeed, it was quite common in Palestine when prior to the massive influx of foreign racist Zionist Jews during the British Class A Mandate whose objective was to create a “Jewish state” by dispossessing and expelling non-Jews, Muslims comprised about 75% of the population. (by 1947, about 10% of Palestine’s Jewish population consisted of native Palestinian/Arab Jews who were vehemently anti-Zionist.)

      Regarding Islam:
      Muslims consider Islam to be “the culmination and perfection of the Jewish and Christian traditions.” They consider Jews and Christians to be “People of the Book of Revelation.”

      “In [his] Charter of Medina, Muhammad guaranteed equal rights and freedoms to Christians and Jews. He also promised protection to a number of Christian monasteries. In one such covenant, he commanded Muslims to ensure the religious liberties of Christians for all times to come. He said: ‘Christians are my citizens, and by God, I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.’

      “‘The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. No one of the Muslims is to disobey this covenant till the Last Day.’” (“A Muslim’s Christmas Message,” by Kashif Chaudhry, Huffington Post, December25/15

      The prophet Muhammad’s Charter of Medina also calls for respect and tolerance towards Jews: “The Jews who attach themselves to our commonwealth shall be protected from all insults and vexations; they shall have an equal right with our own people to our assistance and good offices: The Jews… and all others domiciled in Yathrib [Medina], shall practice their religion as freely as the Muslims.”

      “…In al-Andalus, the Jewish community rose from the ashes of an abysmal existence under the Visigoths to the point that the emir who proclaimed himself caliph in the tenth century had a Jew as his foreign minister…. Fruitful intermarriage among the various cultures were vital aspects of Andalusian identity….” (Maria Rosa Menocal, Ornament of the World; Little, Brown and Company, 2002, pp. 11 and 30)

      It was in Andalusia (known in Hebrew as Sefarad) “that the profoundly Arabized Jews rediscovered and reinvented Hebrew; there that Christians embraced nearly every aspect of Arabic style – from the intellectual of philosophy to the architectural styles of mosques….” (ibid)

      Also: Young Jews visit Spain and connect with Al-Andalus:

      In 638 CE Palestine fell to the Muslims under Caliph Umar (or Omar.) To this day, many Jews refer to the arrival of the Muslims as a “liberation” for Umar gave them unfettered access to Jerusalem, which they had been denied under the Christian Byzantines. He was equally generous to the Christians. “Never in the sorry story of conquest up to that day, and rarely since, were such noble and generous sentiments displayed by a conqueror as those extended to Jerusalem by Omar.” (Report by Sir William Fitzgerald on the Local Administration of Jerusalem, Jerusalem: Government Printer, 1945, p. 4)

      In 1187, Saladin liberated Jerusalem from the brutal Crusaders and invited the Jews they had expelled to return and practice their faith freely. It is easy to understand why Palestine’s indigenous Arab Jews were among Zionism’s most ardent opponents. To quote Ronald Storrs, the first British military governor of Jerusalem: “The religious Jews of Jerusalem and Hebron and the Sephardim were strongly opposed to political Zionism…” (Storrs, Ronald, Orientations, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1945)

      BTW, for the record, being an atheist, I have no religious “axe to grind.”

  8. Ossinev on October 16, 2018, 7:36 am

    “Heads up: I”m about to commit an ANTI-IHRAISM:”

    There must be an anti – dote for the condition you know like an anti – antihraism medication of some kind ?

  9. Vera Gottlieb on October 16, 2018, 8:23 am

    The disgraceful attitudes of these people are totally shaming. In spite of my Jewish background, I am beginning to turn against israel.

  10. bcg on October 16, 2018, 9:46 am

    @Jackdaw: “Jonathan. Why don’t you strap on a set, and go find out what Arabs think about this mixed wedding….Jonathan?”

    I’ve tried to search for news on what the Arabs/Palestinians think about the mixed wedding, but I can find nothing, so I’m tempted to conclude that it isn’t an issue in those communities. But if you have some information, could you please post it?

    • Misterioso on October 16, 2018, 10:50 am


      Well said. Being a typical Zionist, Jackdaw knows little about the real history of Palestine.

    • Jackdaw on October 16, 2018, 2:54 pm


      I’m bemused that people that care so much about Palestinians, people like you and Jonathan Ofir, have to search the internet in order to find out what Palestinians think.

      All I have to do is step outside my gate and ask one.

      What sad sacks you all are.

      • John O on October 16, 2018, 3:41 pm


        But do you ever step outside your gate and ask one?

      • marc b. on October 16, 2018, 4:21 pm

        Only sad sacks live outside of the gated communities of Israel. Sad sacks, lacking testicles apparently, the worst of all sacks. Well, we know about this marriage, being publicized in the media and all. Not so astounding that someone might wonder about media reports of Palestinian opinion on the topic. But since you’ve set the investigative and analytical standard, stepping out of your gate, keep us up to date as your research progresses. (Try to keep the interview biases to a minimum would you, though? Flashing your AR-15 or dousing the interviewees with sewage might skew the results.)

      • Jackdaw on October 16, 2018, 4:49 pm

        @John 0

        “But do you ever step outside your gate and ask one?”

        No. Because I don’t give a fig what anyone thinks about this marriage. It’s none of their business, and it’s none of mine what this couple do. And, I’m too polite to force a political discussion on Arab neighbours who just want to make a living and find some joy in their lives.

        What I do care about is one-sided faux journalists afraid to question Arabs, and keyboard activists who are hundreds or thousand of miles removed from the region and it’s peoples.

        Pathetic sods.

      • Marnie on October 17, 2018, 12:04 am

        John O “But do you ever step outside your gate and ask one?”

        Jackdoo “No.”

        You never leave your mother’s basement do you?

      • Mooser on October 17, 2018, 11:47 am

        “What I do care about is one-sided faux journalists?”

        You care enough to spend all day with Mondo, rather than hear the same things from Israelis.

  11. James Canning on October 16, 2018, 4:09 pm

    What utterly foolish hysteria about the “dangers” of assimilation.

  12. CHUCKMAN on October 16, 2018, 5:37 pm


    Seriously, what else can you call this?

  13. bcg on October 16, 2018, 6:17 pm

    @Jackdaw: On the one hand, “Jonathan. Why don’t you strap on a set, and go find out what Arabs think about this mixed wedding….Jonathan?”

    On the other hand, “Because I don’t give a fig what anyone thinks about this marriage.”

    I’m thoroughly confused. Can you clarify?

    • Jackdaw on October 17, 2018, 5:32 am



      Jonathan Ofir needs to do his job, which is to talk to both sides in this conflict. At the very least, this makes for balanced reportage.

      If Jonathan doesn’t occasionally talk to Arabs, he comes off as a shrill, monotonous ‘shamer’.

  14. niass2 on October 16, 2018, 9:31 pm

    Judaism is ending because people like me don’t want to associate with Apartheid loving fanatics who pretend something something about god. My adopted child is not getting a Jewish education or being raised “Jewish” because it seems to me that would involve telling him might makes right and hate is just fine. So in this Jewish family the religion ends in this generation, unless for some reason my son decides to become “Jewish” on his own accord, which is unlikely since all he hears about Israel is about Apartheid and its hatred and racism. So its all over now, no assimilation but the end of line for Judaism in my fathers house despite us being both Jewish. And that is fine with us What is there about Judaism that we want our child to emulate if he is to be a kind human being with some decent values. There is nothing there to emulate.

  15. bcg on October 17, 2018, 12:22 pm

    @Jackdaw: “Jonathan Ofir needs to do his job, which is to talk to both sides in this conflict. At the very least, this makes for balanced reportage…If Jonathan doesn’t occasionally talk to Arabs, he comes off as a shrill, monotonous ‘shamer’.’

    So if we need to have both sides of the conflict weighing in on the issue of this article – mixed marriages in Israel – why on earth don’t you walk outside your gate, talk to some Palestinians, and tell us what they say? Really.

  16. jon s on October 18, 2018, 2:43 pm

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