Uri Orbach
Photo: Tomer Barzide

A tragic love story

Israeli media’s excitement over intermarriage puts romance ahead of Jewish existence

The fact I hesitated for more than five minutes before I wrote this is the proof it must be written.


Over the weekend I read about a successful Jewish-Israeli opera singer. Her first husband was an American of Filipino decent, a complete gentile, or in the words of the article: “Non-Jewish.” When she was asked about it, she said it didn’t bother her at all: “I don’t think that age or religious or mentality is a limiting factor.” In the very same section of the newspaper I read about a former childrens' show star who now lives in New York with her boyfriend, another nice non-Jew, and they plan to marry in the future. “You can set all kinds of rules,” she said, “but reality has rules of its own.”


Every two days we would read with excitement about Israeli model Bar Refaeli and Leonardo DiCaprio, when they were still together. Even former Miss World Linor Abargil is married to Lithuanian basketball Star Sarunas Jasikevicius. Yet I, and please forgive my rudeness, just cannot wish them a happy life together.


Those are things that we don’t really write about or talk about. The romantic relationships of celebrities are sort of their own private affair. But what’s so private about it? They are being photographed for entertainment and sports magazines, daily newspapers report about them, they show up together at openings, and their flourishing or fading love is a public affair.


However, this tiny little issue, this bothersome matter of a Jew going out with a non-Jew, suddenly becomes none of our business. This constitutes interference in their personal lives. It has become so personal that even the word “gentile” is no longer used, lest someone get offended. If they happen to note that the partner is not one of us, they say he or she is a “non-Jew.” This is still within the boundaries of politically correct.


In the secular media, talk against the intermarriage of a specific couple, whether a celebrity or not, is perceived as primitivism or racism. It’s old fashioned to express public views about their relationship, or heaven forbid, the marriage of one of us, a Jew, to one of them, a Christian.


At the same time, in other sections of the newspaper we see articles about the curse of intermarriage that is gnawing away at the Jewish people. We read Jewish Agency reports about the “White Holocaust” or “Silent Holocaust,” the one that annually takes away many thousands of Jews who chose to intermarry.


‘As long as they’re happy’

Marriages between Jews and Christians are the main reason for the decline of the Jewish people in America and Europe. American Jewry, whose young people are naturally facing a much graver threat of assimilation, is undertaking great efforts in order to enhance their Jewish experience, so that when they face the test they will know how to say no. For us here in Israel, it’s much easier to talk about the problem of intermarriage, while at the same time dance the night away at Linor’s and Sarunas’ wedding. As if this isn’t our problem.


Can we forbid a Jewish woman from marrying her gentile Christian fiancé? We cannot. But we can at least not get excited about it. The fact that Bar Refaeli dated Leonardo DiCaprio bothered me much more than the silly things she said about the army.


If we use our brain a little, we would realize that what stimulates “assimilation” is nothing but thousands of small romantic stories, most of them unfit for entertainment magazines, about young Israelis who travel abroad after completing their military service. Tsachi and Hagit, and Lihi and Meital, and Roni and Rami, who here and there meet John and Jane, Hans and Maria, and Matt. They are all wonderful guys and girls, and the fact they happen to be Non-Jews (that is, gentiles!) no longer constitutes a sufficient obstacle.


Indeed, most secular families still regret the marriage of their children to foreigners, but the media expression of this romantic tragedy is joyful and foolish. Stories about celebrity couples who are members of different religions are sold here under the headline “As long as they’re happy,” and isn’t it wonderful that the beauty and wisdom of our celebrities are also to the liking of attractive gentiles.


If we read an article about the objection of a Jewish family to such relationship, the coverage will be in the spirit of “Love won over prejudice.” The existence of the Jewish people is less important than a love story. Because what matters is romance.


Love wins? The people of Israel lose. More such victories and we’ll be history.


פרסום ראשון: 11.13.07, 10:30
 new comment
This will delete your current comment