At first blush — and undoubtedly to most people — the announcement of the marriage of Lucy Aharish to Tzachi Halevi on Wednesday appeared to be just another cute couple tying the knot, as couples do all over the world. To the untrained eye the couple just look like two semites- which indeed in reality they both probably are. But there is something a little different about this pair.
Both are Israeli celebrities in their own right, but that’s not what makes them entirely unique. Lucy, 37, is a Hebrew-speaking Israeli-born Muslim and the first Arab to anchor a Hebrew-language program on Israeli television, according to DW News. Tzachi is an Arabic-speaking Jewish actor perhaps best known internationally for his role as a secret agent in the show “Fauda” on Netflix.
The announcement of their private marriage ceremony last week sparked vocal outrage from Israeli hardliners in all quarters — from Jewish supremacists to members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. The couple had reportedly kept their four-year romance a secret out fear of a backlash, and it seems their fears were legitimate — though sad and hard to fathom for most people.
Likud lawmaker Oren Hazen wrote on Twitter last week that mixed marriages threatened Jewish purity.
Hazen opined in Hebrew: “I don’t blame Lucy Aharish, who seduced a Jewish soul with the aim of harming our country and preventing another Jewish generation from continuing the Jewish dynasty. On the contrary, she is invited to convert to Judaism.”
Ultra-Orthodox rabbi and Israel Interior Minister Arye Deri, who founded of the Shas Party, decided to weigh in on the union as well, saying, “The pain of assimilation worldwide is consuming the Jewish people.” He also made clear certain expectations in order to avoid “problems.”
“If she [Lucy] desires Judaism, then there’s the process of conversion,” he said.
The Likudnik invasion of this couple’s space did engender a reaction from some more liberal Israelis.
“Congratulations and happiness to this wonderful couple,” Labor MP Shelly Yachimovich tweeted.
“Lucy Aharish understands better what it means to be Jewish than he who sends a nauseating, racist Twitter message,” wrote Stav Shafir, another Labor legislator.
Right-wing lawmakers’ reactions revealed the “dark, racist and embarrassing face” of Netanyahu’s Likud party, opposition Zionist Union lawmaker Yoel Hasson said.
However, a big-picture poll from the Israel Democracy Institute’s Guttman Center for Surveys and the Avi Chai Foundation reveals that 70% of Israelis hold that they are the “chosen people.” Chosen for what exactly? The survey didn’t specify.
Winter Watch’s first reaction to this story was to assume that “mixing assimilation” in Israel is a very real issue. After all, about 20% of Israeli citizens are Arab Muslims. However, according to recent national data on Israeli marriage, only 23 out of nearly 58,000 weddings are between Arabs and Jews. This is non-existent and disgraceful. In other words, neurotic delusion is the real issue. If it was 5% (representing one-quarter of a quota), then perhaps we could sympathize more about this as a conversation – but 1/22% of one percent?
Considering that Jews showed up en masse in the mid-20th century and inserted themselves into the midst of a long-established Arab population, how could interfaith marriage statistics be so low? Even the most extreme white supremacists and ethnocentrists would raise an eyebrow. And it looks like the views of Israeli liberals have had no affect on the issue.
Even worse, in this larger conversation, “anti-Semitism” is applied to those who criticize or resist Jewish social cohesion. But when white gentiles attempt to maintain a much more diluted version of social cohesion, the smear “racism” and “xenophobe” is applied.
It is like a soldier marching out-of-step in a parade. On rare occasion, other marchers point this out, but Mr. Out-of-Step has the chutzpah, money and media to convince them that, in fact, they are out-of-step.
Jews live in a bubble, told they are wonderful people who are disliked for no reason. The closed Jewish society allows little unsanctioned self-criticism. We are also thunderstruck about how 2% of the world’s population so frequently manages to make so much of the conversation about them and their views and their critiques on the lives of non-Jews. Hypocrite much?
Jewess Barbara Spectre demonstrates uncanny powers of self-justification. Looks like there is work for you in Israel, Barbara.
Increasingly, the western world is also becoming a closed, self-absorbed and solipsistic society similar to Jewry. Genuine self-criticism is not self-hatred. It is essential to health and survival.