By Erica ChernofskyBBC Information, Jerusalem
Intermarriage – when Jews wed non-Jews – was called a threat to your future survival of the nation that is jewish. So what took place whenever 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 last week reported that Norwegian Sandra Leikanger and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair really are a couple, to that the office of Mr Netanyahu has responded – in accordance with Israeli media – by insisting they’ve been just university classmates. Nevertheless the damage had been done.
Leikanger isn’t Jewish, a fact that has sparked outrage in Israel, a country that is jewish since its inception has fought to have its Jewish character recognised around the world. While Judaism just isn’t a proselytising religion, Leikanger, like any non-Jew, does have the possibility of converting should she wish to become Jewish.
Intermarriage and assimilation are quintessential Jewish fears and also have been known as a hazard to the future survival of this reasonably small Jewish country. Based on Jewish law, the religion is passed on through the mother, therefore if a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman, their children would not be considered Jews.
The opportunity that kids of a couple that is mixed keep or transfer any Jewish traditions to future generations is radically diminished. As today’s rate of intermarriage among Diaspora Jews appears above 50%, many are concerned that the nation that survived persecution, pogroms while the Holocaust could sooner or later die out of its undoing.
The anxiety ended up being expressed in an letter that is open Yair Netanyahu by the Israeli organisation Lehava, which works to prevent assimilation, in a post on its Facebook page, which warned him that his grandparents “are switching over within their graves they failed to dream that their grandchildren would not be Jews”.
The problem of intermarriage has largely been one for Diaspora Jews – the Jews whom live outside Israel. The phenomenon has come to light inside Israel, Jews (75% of the population) and Arabs (21%) rarely marry, but with an influx of foreign workers and globalisation of the Israeli community, in recent years.
“Jesus forbid, if it’s real, woe is me,” states Aryeh Deri, frontrunner associated with the Ultra-Orthodox Shas party, to a radio that is local, lamenting the news that the prime minister’s son ended up being dating a non-Jew. ” I don’t like discussing personal problems but whether or not it’s true Jesus forbid, then it’s no longer an individual matter – it is the symbol regarding the Jewish individuals.”
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, who they called the “newest existential threat”. She sang about a shikse, a non-Jewish girl, sarcastically crooning that she’s “worse than Hitler”.
But jokes apart, even the prime minister’s brother-in-law, Hagai Ben-Artzi, spoke away highly on their event, warning his nephew that if he does not end his relationship with Leikanger, it is just as if he’s spitting regarding the graves of their grandparents.
“From my point of view, if he does such a thing, I personally will not enable him getting near their graves,” he told an Ultra-Orthodox site. ” This is the most awful thing that is threatening and was a danger through the entire reputation for the Jewish individuals. More awful than making Israel is wedding by having a gentile. If this happens, God forbid, I’ll bury myself I don’t know where. We’ll walk within the roads and tear my hair off – and here this will be happening.”
Anyone who’s watched Fiddler on the top, where Tevye states his daughter is dead to him for marrying a non-Jew, understands the matter happens to be a delicate one amongst Jews.
But Dr Daniel Gordis, an author and expert commentator on Israel and Judaism, claims that has changed in the past few decades, specially within the Diaspora community that is jewish.
Whereas once it was significantly frowned upon for a Jew of any stream to marry a non-Jew, today, among unaffiliated (no synagogue), non-denominational (those who don’t recognize with any movement), conservative or reform Jews, it is really not the taboo it was previously. The intermarriage prices of non-denominational Jews approach 80%, he says.
But among Orthodox Jews and in Israel, it is still far more controversial.
“It is not really a racial problem, it’s not a superiority problem, it is not a xenophobia issue,” he says, describing there are two reasons behind the opposition to intermarriage, certainly one of which will be it is simply forbidden in Halacha, or law that is jewish.
“The other thing is that Jews have come to see that the only way that is real transfer effective Jewish identification with their kids is dating for adventist adults for them to be raised by two Jewish parents. Young ones raised by one Jewish parent and one non-Jewish parent have more tepid, more delicate, thinner Jewish identities than their Jewish moms and dads did.
“These are typically statistically almost certainly going to marry non-Jews. There’s no guarantee, but statistically it is extremely difficult to make a child utilizing the same sense of Jewish passion that the older generation has if he’s raised by somebody who doesn’t share that story.”
The result, 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 for the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jewish studies, because since intermarriage is really so uncommon here, when an Israeli marries a non-Jew they notice it as if he could be leaving Judaism.
” When you’re a little individuals and you lose your constituents it certainly makes you quite nervous. We’re 14 million Jews within the global world, that’s it,” he describes. ” just What’s changed in contemporary life that is jewish of Israel is the fact that a Jew marrying a non-Jew doesn’t necessarily suggest making Jewish life any longer.”
This may be a new phenomenon in Judaism, and Hartman claims Jews must rise towards the challenge.
“The battle against intermarriage is really a missing battle. We are a folks who are intermarried – the problem is perhaps not how exactly to stop it, but 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 have to be better, our Jewish experiences have become more compelling, we need to start working much harder.
” Living in the contemporary globe calls for you to be nimble. Things are changing, I do not know whether it’s for the worse or perhaps not, which will depend on which we do. However the world is evolving, so we need certainly to evolve with it.”