Leikanger just isn’t Jewish, an undeniable fact that has sparked outrage in Israel, A jewish country which since its inception has battled to own its Jewish character recognised around the world

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Leikanger just isn’t Jewish, an undeniable fact that has sparked outrage in Israel, A jewish country which since its inception has battled to own its Jewish character recognised around the world

By Erica ChernofskyBBC Information, Jerusalem

Intermarriage – when Jews wed non-Jews – happens to be known as a threat to your future survival of the Jewish nation. What exactly took place whenever there have been reports that the Israeli prime minister’s son was dating a non-jew that is norwegian?

The Norwegian daily Dagen last week reported that Norwegian Sandra Leikanger and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair are a couple, to that the workplace of Mr Netanyahu has responded – based on Israeli news – by insisting they’re just college classmates. Nevertheless the harm has already been done.

Leikanger isn’t Jewish, an undeniable fact which includes sparked outrage in Israel, a country that is jewish since its inception has fought to possess its Jewish character recognised around the world. While Judaism isn’t a religion that is proselytising Leikanger, like most 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 known as a hazard to the future success of this fairly little nation that is jewish. In accordance with Jewish legislation, the religion is passed down through mom, so if a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman, their children wouldn’t be considered Jews.

The opportunity that kids of the blended few would keep or pass on any Jewish traditions to future generations is radically diminished. As today’s price of intermarriage among Diaspora Jews appears above 50%, the majority are worried that the world that survived persecution, pogroms while the Holocaust could die out of eventually its very own undoing.

The anxiety had been expressed in a letter that is open Yair Netanyahu by the Israeli organisation Lehava, which works to prevent 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 wouldn’t be Jews”.

The problem of intermarriage has mostly been one for Diaspora Jews – the Jews who 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.

“God forbid, if it’s real, woe is me personally,” claims Aryeh Deri, leader for the Ultra-Orthodox Shas party, to a neighborhood radio place, lamenting the headlines that the prime minister’s son ended up being dating a non-Jew. ” I don’t like dealing with personal problems but then it is not any longer a personal matter – it’s the expression associated with the Jewish individuals. if it is true God forbid,”

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 in regards to a shikse, a non-Jewish girl, sarcastically crooning that she is “worse than Hitler”.

But jokes aside, even the prime minister’s brother-in-law, Hagai Ben-Artzi, spoke away highly on the event, warning his nephew that if he doesn’t end their relationship with Leikanger, it is as if he’s spitting in the graves of their grand-parents.

“From my standpoint, if he does such a thing, personally won’t allow him getting near their graves,” he told an Ultra-Orthodox website. ” This is the many awful thing that is threatening and had been a threat throughout the history of the Jewish people. More awful than making Israel is wedding having a gentile. If this happens, Jesus forbid, I’ll bury myself I don’t understand where. I’ll walk within the roads and tear my hair off – and right here this will be occurring.”

Anyone who’s watched Fiddler on top, where Tevye says his child is dead to him for marrying a non-Jew, knows the matter is without question an one that is sensitive Jews.

But Dr Daniel Gordis, a writer and expert commentator on Israel and Judaism, says which has changed into the past few decades, particularly within the Diaspora community that is jewish.

Whereas once it was greatly frowned upon for a Jew of any flow to marry a non-Jew, today, among unaffiliated (no synagogue), non-denominational (those who do not recognize with any movement), conservative or reform Jews, it is really not the taboo it was previously. The intermarriage rates of non-denominational Jews approach 80%, he says.

But among Orthodox Jews plus in Israel, it’s still a whole lot more controversial.

“It is not just a racial issue, it isn’t a superiority issue, it’s not a xenophobia problem,” he says, describing that we now have two grounds for the opposition to intermarriage, certainly one of which will be that it’s simply forbidden in Halacha, or law that is jewish.

“The other thing is that Jews have come to observe that the only real real method to transmit powerful Jewish identification for their kids is for them to be raised by two Jewish moms and dads. Kids raised by one Jewish moms and dad and one non-Jewish moms and dad have significantly more tepid, more fragile, thinner Jewish identities than their Jewish moms and dads did.

“they truly are statistically more likely to marry non-Jews. There isn’t any guarantee, but statistically it’s almost impossible to create a son or daughter because of the sense that is same of passion that the older generation has if he is raised by someone who does not share that story.”

The effect, he adds, is the fact that in the usa, ” there’s a sense that is rapidly eroding of commitment, an entire collapsing of Jewish literacy, and a thinning of Jewish identity”.

Therefore Israelis are petrified, claims Rabbi Dr Donniel Hartman, mind associated with the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jewish studies, because since intermarriage is indeed uncommon here, whenever an Israeli marries a non-Jew they view it as though he’s leaving Judaism.

” When you are a tiny people and you lose your constituents it does make you quite nervous. We have been 14 million Jews within the global world, that is 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 invariably mean leaving Jewish life anymore.”

This may be a phenomenon that is new Judaism, and Hartman states Jews must rise to the challenge.

“The battle against intermarriage is a battle that is lost. We have been a people who are intermarried – the issue is maybe not how exactly to stop it, but just how to reach out to non-Jewish spouses and welcome them into our community,” he says.

“Our outreach has to be better, our organizations have to be better, our Jewish experiences have become more compelling, we need to begin working much harder.

” staying in the world that is modern one to be nimble. Things are changing, I don’t understand whether it’s for the worse or perhaps not, which will depend about what we do. Nevertheless the world is evolving, and we need to evolve along with it.”