Leikanger isn’t Jewish, a fact which has sparked outrage in Israel, a country that is jewish since its inception has battled to have its Jewish character recognised around the world

By Erica ChernofskyBBC News, Jerusalem

Intermarriage – when Jews wed non-Jews – happens to be known as a threat to your future success of the nation that is jewish. So what happened when there were reports that the Israeli prime minister’s son had been dating a non-jew that is norwegian?

The Norwegian day-to-day Dagen last week reported that Norwegian Sandra Leikanger and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair certainly are a few, to that the office of Mr Netanyahu has responded – according to Israeli media – by insisting they’ve been only college classmates. However the damage has already been done.

Leikanger isn’t Jewish, an undeniable fact who has sparked outrage in Israel, a country that is jewish since its inception has battled to have its Jewish character recognised throughout the world. While Judaism isn’t a proselytising religion, Leikanger, like most non-Jew, comes with the choice of converting should she wish to be Jewish.

Intermarriage and assimilation are quintessential Jewish fears and have been called a hazard to the future success of this fairly tiny Jewish country. Based on Jewish legislation, the religion is passed on through mom, therefore if a Jewish guy marries a non-Jewish girl, kids wouldn’t be considered Jews.

The chance that kiddies of a couple that is mixed keep or pass on any Jewish traditions to future generations is radically diminished. As today’s rate of intermarriage among Diaspora Jews stands above 50%, the majority are worried that the nation that survived persecution, pogroms plus the Holocaust could die out of eventually a unique undoing.

The anxiety ended up being expressed within an available page to Yair Netanyahu by the Israeli organisation Lehava, which works to prevent assimilation, in a post on its Facebook web page, which warned him that their grandparents “are turning over inside their graves they didn’t dream that their grandchildren wouldn’t be Jews”.

The issue of intermarriage has mostly been one for Diaspora Jews – the Jews whom reside 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 is real, woe is me personally,” states Aryeh Deri, leader for the Ultra-Orthodox Shas party, up to a radio that is local, lamenting the news that the prime minister’s son had been dating a non-Jew. ” I don’t like speaking about private issues but then it is not any longer a personal matter – it is the symbol of this Jewish individuals. whether it’s real Jesus 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, whom they called the “newest existential threat”. She sang of 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 strongly on the affair, warning their nephew that if he doesn’t end their relationship with Leikanger, it is as if he could be spitting in the graves of his grandparents.

“From my point of view, 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 had been a danger through the entire reputation for the Jewish individuals. More awful than leaving Israel is wedding having a gentile. In such a circumstance, God forbid, We’ll bury myself I do not know where. We’ll walk within the streets and tear my hair off – and here this might be happening.”

Anybody who’s watched Fiddler on top, where Tevye claims his daughter is dead to him for marrying a non-Jew, knows the issue is definitely a painful and sensitive one amongst Jews.

But Dr Daniel Gordis, an author and expert commentator on Israel and Judaism, claims who has changed into the past few years, especially within the Diaspora Jewish community.

Whereas once it had been significantly frowned upon for the Jew of any stream to marry a non-Jew, today, among unaffiliated (no synagogue), non-denominational (those that don’t recognize with any movement), conservative or reform Jews, it isn’t the taboo it once was. The intermarriage prices of non-denominational Jews approach 80%, he claims.

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

“It’s not just a racial issue, it is not a superiority issue, it isn’t a xenophobia issue,” he claims, describing there are 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 attended to observe that truly the only real method to transfer powerful Jewish identity to their kiddies is in order for them to baptist dating site be raised by two Jewish parents. Children raised by one parent that is jewish one non-Jewish parent have significantly more tepid, more delicate, thinner Jewish identities than their Jewish parents did.

“they truly are statistically more likely to marry non-Jews. There is no guarantee, but statistically it is extremely difficult to produce a son or daughter with the sense that is same of passion that the older generation has if he is raised by an individual who does not share that story.”

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

So Israelis are petrified, claims Rabbi Dr Donniel Hartman, mind associated with Shalom Hartman Institute of Jewish studies, because since intermarriage is really so uncommon there, when an Israeli marries a non-Jew they notice it as though he is leaving Judaism.

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

This can be a new sensation in Judaism, and Hartman says Jews must increase to your challenge.

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

“Our outreach has to be better, our institutions have to be better, our experiences that are jewish become more compelling, we must begin working much harder.

” Living in the world that is modern one to be nimble. Things are changing, I do not know if it is for the worse or otherwise not, which will depend about what we do. Nevertheless the globe is evolving, so we have to evolve along with it.”