Two years ago, the city of Petah Tikva created a hotline that parents and friends can use to inform on Jewish women who mix with Arab men. The women are then treated as pathological cases and sent to a psychologist.
In 2008, the southern city of Kiryat Gat launched a program in its schools to warn Jewish girls about the dangers of dating local Bedouin men. The girls were shown a video called Sleeping with the Enemy,1 which describes mixed couples as an “unnatural phenomenon.”
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu once told a local newspaper that the seduction of Jewish girls is “another form of war,” and a religious organisation called Yad L’Achim conducts military-style rescues of women from “hostile” Arab villages, in co-ordination with the police and army.
In 2009, a government-backed television advertising campaign, later withdrawn, urged Israeli Jews to report relatives abroad who were in danger of marrying non-Jews.
It is no wonder that, according to a poll from 2007, more than half of all Israeli Jews believe that intermarriage should be equated with “national treason.” Adding to the ridiculousness of this situation, late last year, Rabbi Ari Shvat, an expert on Jewish law, allowed for an exception: Jewish women are permitted to sleep with Arabs if it is in order to gather information about anti-Israel activity – although it is more appropriate to use unmarried women for this purpose.
The first thing that strikes one here is the gender asymmetry.
[Extract. Appeared in ABC on March 5th 2011.]