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Leikanger isn’t Jewish, a fact who has sparked outrage in Israel, A jewish nation which since its inception has battled to have its Jewish character recognised throughout the world

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Leikanger isn’t Jewish, a fact who has sparked outrage in Israel, A jewish nation which since its inception has battled to have its Jewish character recognised throughout the world

By Erica ChernofskyBBC News, Jerusalem

Intermarriage – when Jews wed non-Jews – has been called a danger to the future survival of this Jewish country. So what occurred when there were reports that the Israeli prime minister’s son had been dating a non-jew that is norwegian?

The Norwegian daily Dagen the other day reported that Norwegian Sandra Leikanger and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair are a few, to that the workplace of Mr Netanyahu has responded – based on Israeli news – by insisting these are typically only college classmates. Nevertheless the harm had been done.

Leikanger is not Jewish, an undeniable fact which has sparked outrage in Israel, a country that is jewish since its inception has fought to have its Jewish character recognised throughout the world. While Judaism is not a religion that is proselytising Leikanger, like any non-Jew, comes with the choice of converting should she wish to become Jewish.

Intermarriage and assimilation are quintessential Jewish fears and possess been known as a threat to the future survival of this fairly tiny nation that is jewish. Based on law that is jewish the faith is handed down through mom, therefore if a Jewish guy marries a non-Jewish girl, their children would not be considered Jews.

The possibility that kiddies of a couple that is mixed keep or pass along any Jewish traditions to future generations is radically diminished. As today’s price of intermarriage among Diaspora Jews stands above 50%, many are concerned that the world that survived persecution, pogroms and the Holocaust could eventually perish away from its own undoing.

The anxiety had been expressed in an open letter to Yair Netanyahu by the Israeli organisation Lehava, which works to avoid assimilation, in a post on its Facebook page, which warned him that his grand-parents “are turning over in their graves they would not dream that their grandchildren wouldn’t be Jews”.

The issue of intermarriage has mostly been one for Diaspora Jews – the Jews whom live outside Israel. Inside Israel, Jews (75% associated with populace) and Arabs (21%) seldom marry, but with an influx of international workers and globalisation associated with the Israeli community, in recent years the sensation has come to light.

“God forbid, if it is real, woe is me,” says Aryeh Deri, frontrunner associated with Ultra-Orthodox Shas party, up to a local radio section, lamenting the headlines that the prime minister’s son had been dating a non-Jew. ” I don’t like speaking about private dilemmas but whether it’s true God forbid, then it is no longer an individual matter – it’s the symbol associated with the Jewish individuals.”

Throughout the weekend, Eretz Nehederet, the popular Israeli satirical tv program, aired a parody showcasing infamous historical oppressors of the Jews such as the biblical Pharaoh plus the Spanish inquisitor. 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 woman, sarcastically crooning that she is “worse than Hitler”.

But jokes aside, even the prime minister’s brother-in-law, Hagai Ben-Artzi, spoke out highly on the affair, warning their nephew that if he does not end his relationship with Leikanger, it’s as though he’s spitting in the graves of their grandparents.

“From my perspective, I personally won’t allow him to get near their graves,” he told an Ultra-Orthodox website if he does such a thing. ” This is the most awful thing that is threatening and was a hazard throughout the reputation for the Jewish individuals. More awful than leaving Israel is marriage with a gentile. If this happens, God forbid, I’ll bury myself I do not know where. I’ll walk into the roads and tear down my locks – and here that is happening.”

Whoever’s watched Fiddler on the Roof, where Tevye claims their child is dead to him for marrying a non-Jew, understands the problem has always been a delicate one among Jews.

But Dr Daniel Gordis, a writer and expert commentator on Israel and Judaism, says which includes changed in the previous few years, especially within the Diaspora community that is jewish.

Whereas once it had been significantly frowned upon for the Jew of any flow to marry a non-Jew, today, among unaffiliated (no synagogue), non-denominational (people who do not recognize with any movement), conservative or reform Jews, it’s not the taboo it was previously. The intermarriage prices of non-denominational Jews approach 80%, he states.

But among Orthodox Jews and in Israel, it’s still far more controversial.

“It’s not a racial problem, it isn’t a superiority problem, it’s not a xenophobia issue,” he states, explaining that there are two grounds for the opposition to intermarriage, one of which will be that it’s simply forbidden in Halacha, or Jewish law.

“The other thing is that Jews attended to observe that the actual only real real solution to transmit powerful Jewish identification with their kiddies is in order for them to be raised by two Jewish moms and dads. Children raised by one Jewish moms and dad and one non-Jewish moms and dad have more tepid, more fragile, thinner Jewish identities than their Jewish moms and dads did.

“They are statistically prone to marry non-Jews. There isn’t any guarantee, but statistically it’s extremely difficult to make a youngster aided by the exact same feeling of Jewish passion that the older generation has if he is raised by someone who does not share that story.”

The end result, he adds, is in the usa, ” there’s a sense that is rapidly eroding of commitment, a complete collapsing of Jewish literacy, and a thinning of Jewish identity”.

Therefore Israelis are petrified, claims Rabbi Dr Donniel Hartman, head for the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jewish studies, because since intermarriage is so unusual there, whenever an Israeli marries a non-Jew they see it as though he could be leaving Judaism.

” When you are a tiny people and you lose your constituents it does make you quite stressed. We’re 14 million Jews into the world, that is it,” he explains. ” just What’s changed in modern life that is jewish of Israel is that a Jew marrying a non-Jew doesn’t necessarily suggest making Jewish life anymore.”

This is a new event in Judaism, and Hartman claims Jews must increase to the challenge.

“The battle against intermarriage is really a missing battle. We are a people who are intermarried – the issue is maybe not how to stop it, but just how to contact non-Jewish spouses and welcome them into our community,” he says.

“Our outreach has to be better, our organizations need to be better, our experiences that are jewish to be more compelling, we need to take effect much harder.

” surviving in the world that is modern one to be nimble. Things are changing, I do not understand whether it’s for the even worse or perhaps not, that may depend about what we do. But the globe is evolving, and we need to evolve along with it.”

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