Analysis News

Selective prosecution: In Israel, not all citizens are created equal

What does it say about a democracy when a law is enforced selectively in order to further a political or personal vendetta against a private citizen?

Illustrative photo of an interrogation room (Photo by Shutterstock.com)

Illustrative photo of an interrogation room (Photo by Shutterstock.com)

In Israel there is something called the Prevention of Infiltration Law, which prohibits citizens from traveling to a list of so-called “enemy states.” The law is little known and almost never enforced. In fact, it is common and widely accepted practice for Israeli businesspeople and journalists with additional citizenship to travel to “enemy” countries using their alternate passports. Some journalists, like Channel 2′s Itay Anghel, are famous for having used alternate passports to report from places like Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and, most recently, Syria. They are regarded as intrepid reporters who bring valuable insight to Israeli news consumers.

I only learned about the law’s existence when the police accused me, during an interrogation that took place in November 2007, of having violated it when I traveled to Beirut, where I reported for Israel’s Channel 10 one year after the July 2006 war.

It is not pleasant to be interrogated by the police. At the time I felt angry and also vulnerable, because I was a freelancer without the protection of familial ties in Israel. But in retrospect the interrogation itself was not really traumatic. Two plainclothes detectives, who I suppose were low level Shin Bet officers, gave me coffee and asked me some not particularly intelligent questions for three hours or so, while one of them painstakingly pecked out my responses on a computer keyboard, using his two index fingers. A couple of weeks after the interrogation one of the officers informed Israel Radio that I was under investigation, which was the lead story for a few hours or maybe a day. At the shuk, the guy I bought peppers and tomatoes from yelled that I was a troublemaker who had endangered the state’s security. So I bought my vegetables from another seller, the story eventually died and I heard nothing further from the authorities.

Going into the interrogation, I did not understand why I had been singled out. But about an hour into the questions, one of the officers showed me a letter from Danny Seaman, then director of the Government Press...

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On the collapse of the Kerry talks: The 'outrageous hypocrisy' of Tzipi Livni & Yair Lapid

Raviv Drucker is a prominent Israeli journalist and political analyst with his own program (co-hosted) on Channel 10 News. He’s one of my favorites, because he’s supremely well informed, doesn’t suffer fools (gladly or otherwise) and back in the day was generous with his knowledge toward novice journalists who speak Hebrew with a weird accent (could be me; I’m not saying…). Below is the blog post he published on Friday in response to the claim, put out by Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, that the (still unofficial) collapse of the Kerry-sponsored talks is all the fault of  Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. The tone here is one of sarcasm, rage, and deep sadness. A note on the translation: Israeli journalists generally refer to Abbas as Abu Mazen, which is his kunya.  (Translated with permission of the author.)

Raviv Drucker reporting from Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Israel's Channel 10 (screenshot by Lisa Goldman, 2010)

Raviv Drucker reporting from Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Israel’s Channel 10 (screenshot by Lisa Goldman, 2010)

Yair Lapid issued a statement: Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] is the one at fault. He made a demand that was completely beyond the realm of acceptability. Israel is committed to the diplomatic process — of course we’re committed — but there is no way to make peace with a man like Abu Mazen. The people in Tzipi Livni’s inner circle are also saying that Netanyahu came a long way [in these negotiations] and Livni is angry — really boiling mad — at Abu Mazen for blowing the whole thing up.

These two representatives of the governing coalition’s so-called peace camp have set a new record in hypocrisy and revulsion. Their spin and self-delusion are nauseating, and are for only one purpose — strengthening their positions in the government. And the Israeli public will pay a heavy price for their venality. Ehud Barak could learn a thing or two from these novice politicians.

Just a few facts — not that facts are of any particular interest to Livni or Lapid. Israel blatantly and flagrantly violated the terms of agreement with the Palestinians. Upon entering these negotiations, the Palestinians agreed to shelve two of their three conditions (withdrawal to the pre-1967 boundaries and a freeze on settlement building). In return, the delighted Netanyahu committed “only” to...

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Ariel Sharon and my political education

For Lisa Goldman, the memory of Ariel Sharon evokes images of civilian massacres, suicide bombings, bloody curfews and a political shift in Israeli society to the right. 

Screenshot of Ariel Sharon from the animated Israeli film “Waltz With Bashir.”

My earliest memory of Ariel Sharon involves vivid color photographs of corpses. I was just waking up to the world and intensely interested in current affairs, so I spent quite a bit of time in the library of my quiet, Canadian all girls’ school, thumbing through newsmagazines like Newsweek, Time and Life. Which is how I learned about the massacre of of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila and saw those gut-churning images of sprawled, bloated, bloody bodies — piles of them. Men and women. Children.

More than three decades later, it is those photographs that flicker automatically across my inner movie screen in response to any mention of Ariel Sharon’s name. Not the famous black-and-white photograph of General Sharon with his bandaged head after he was wounded on a Sinai battlefield during the 1973 war. And not the later image of the warrior turned farmer, with a sheep slung over his shoulders. For me he was primarily a war criminal. I do not celebrate his death, but I don’t mourn him either.

I was educated — at my Jewish elementary school, at summer camp and at synagogue — to think of the State of Israel as a special, better place. Sabra and Shatila forced me to question that perception. In a way, Ariel Sharon hovered over every watershed event in the evolution of my political views, from 1982 to 2005. That includes reading as an undergraduate about the Qibya Massacre that he led in 1953, when he and his soldiers killed 69 Palestinian villagers, primarily women and children.

At the Friday night dinner table in September 1982 my stepfather, who had a subscription to Commentary Magazine, told me sharply that it wasn’t the Israelis who killed the Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila. It was the Christian Lebanese. The subtext: Christians were killing Muslims and everyone was trying to blame the Jews, as usual. This was the received narrative, as far as I remember, among mainstream Jews in the...

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Film review: A documentary explores Israeli attitudes to the Nakba

The eponymous scene of On the Side of the Road, a documentary that explores Israeli attitudes toward the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe, occurs midway through the film on an unpaved road just outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel. Interrupted by a curious Israeli family out for a pastoral drive, director Lia Tarachansky stops to answer their questions about what she is filming (“what TV channel will it be on?”). As they drive on, the children waving and smiling their good byes, Tarachansky stands alone on the side of the road and suddenly bursts into tears. “I mean, everyone I love is here,” she weeps, as she faces the sprawling settlement. “You know?”

Tarachansky, a journalist who works for The Real News, was raised from the age of six in Ariel, one of the largest settlements on the West Bank. Standing on that quiet stretch of road, surrounded by Palestinian villages, she says, “This is where I am from. I don’t know anything else.” Both statements are heartfelt, but neither is completely true. Tarachansky was born in Kiev, in the former Soviet Union, but raised from the age of six in Ariel. Like most Israeli children she learned nothing in school about the Nakba, or catastrophe— the Arabic name for the dispossession and exile of the Palestinian people in 1948.

Reading Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine as a young adult “was my first encounter with this history,” she said in an interview conducted via Skype.

Still image from the documentary “Standing by the Side of the Road”

Her search for more information led her to the Israeli NGO Zochrot, which documents destroyed Palestinian villages and towns in an effort to raise awareness of the dispossession of 1948. Ultimately, she decided to make a documentary film about the subject, and how it is viewed by Israeli society. Today she lives in Jaffa, and is deeply immersed in the activist community. But what she is saying and showing in this scene outside Ariel is that the community in which she is rooted is the one that nurtured her and which she still loves, even though the divergence in their political views has now left her marginalized from...

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Book review: 'What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?'

NEW YORK– Twelve years ago, David Harris-Gershon’s young wife, Jamie, was having lunch at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Frank Sinatra cafeteria when a remote controlled bomb exploded near their table, killing two of their friends. All told, the bomb killed nine people and injured about 100. Harris-Gerson was at home when an acquaintance called to inform him that Jamie had been “lightly injured.” He should come to the hospital, the acquaintance said laconically.

Panicked, the young American careened in a taxi to Hadassah Hospital, the initially recalcitrant driver circumventing roadblocks after he learns that his passenger’s wife is amongst those wounded in the bombing. Upon arriving at the emergency room, he discovers that “lightly injured” means, in Jamie’s case, a familiar face that has been rendered unrecognizable. She had second-and- third degree burns over 30 percent of her body, and internal injuries that required emergency surgery, followed by more surgeries for skin grafts.

This is the central event in Harris-Gershon’s memoir, What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife? It is a story about how a great personal trauma can lead to a personal journey that upends long-held beliefs and ideas. The terrific thing about this book is that the author manages to tell his story without sentimentality, grandiose pronouncements, or false humility. He pulls the reader in with his unpretentious, laconic style, and with his refusal to shy away from acknowledging his own flaws.

David Harrison-Gershon (credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The first half of the book, roughly 140 pages, is about the physical wounds that healed and the psychic wounds that did not. It is also about two normative American Jews who grew up in a liberal suburban milieu, met at a university Hillel event, married and, searching for a deeper understanding of their identities, came to Jerusalem to study at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. The second half is about the author’s search for reconciliation and psychic healing, culminating in a meeting in the East Jerusalem home of the family of the man who had planted the bomb that nearly killed his wife.

The story of meeting, falling in love with and marrying his wife frames Harris-Gershon’s vivid, urgent descriptions of the guilt, rage and grief...

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The Egyptian people rise up and overthrow Morsi - or was it the army..?

Egyptian women demonstrating in Cairo, July 1 (credit: Mosa’ab Elshamy)

Just one year after Mohammed Morsi was sworn into office, Egypt’s army responds to popular protests by deposing the democratically elected president. How did we get here and can the army be trusted to return the country to a path of democracy?

On June 29, 2012, Tahrir Square erupted in cheers as Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, took office. On July 3, 2013, the square was once again packed with cheering Egyptians. This time, they were celebrating the military’s announcement that Morsi had been ousted, the constitution suspended and a senior judiciary figure appointed interim leader pending early elections. Meanwhile, Morsi was under house arrest.

A lot can happen in a year.

The day Morsi took office, he stood in front of the cheering crowd and opened his blazer to reveal that he was not wearing any protective gear. Stepping away from his panicked body guards, he charmed the crowd by announcing that he was not afraid because he was “one of the people.” This has always been the Muslim Brotherhood’s main claim to legitimacy — that it represents the real Egyptians. Not the city dwellers and not the liberal upper class, but the millions who live in slums, small towns and villages, struggling to make a living and adhering to a basically conservative Muslim lifestyle.

A few weeks after he took office, Morsi announced the forced retirement of several senior military officers. These included Field Marshall Tantawi, the defense minister who had headed SCAF, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, which ruled Egypt for 18 months between the overthrow of Mubarak and the election of Morsi.

Readers might remember that the army committed many acts of tremendous brutality during that interim period. Hundreds of civilian protestors were tried in military courts and handed lengthy jail terms. Female protestors were subjected to a form of sexual assault called “virginity tests.” There was the Maspero Massacre, when the army opened fire on Coptic protestors, killing 20. There was the incident of the “girl in the blue bra,” who was stripped and beaten on the street by security forces. And so on.

No wonder, then, that so many Egyptians...

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Views on the Arab revolutions from within Israeli society

In February 2011, when it was clear Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year authoritarian rule over Egypt would not survive the popular uprising that had begun on January 25, the Israeli media’s reporting was characterized primarily by a combination of confusion and unease about the big issue that concerns the country above all others – security.

On the evening television magazine shows, panels of white-haired male analysts in their 60s reminisced in tones of near-nostalgia about their army service in the 1967 and 1973 wars with Egypt. They mentioned the porousness of the border in the south and implied that without Mubarak to hold them back, hordes of hostile Arabs were just waiting for an opportunity to infiltrate the country. They offered no insight into the issues that had inspired the revolution, nothing about Egyptian society, no analysis of why Mubarak was an unpopular leader, and no logical reason for implying that the peace accord would end with his rule.

A handful of journalists with dual nationality flew in to Cairo on their alternate passports. They checked in to hotels near Tahrir Square and tried to bring some insight to their reports on the revolution. Mostly, with the exception of one television report by super journalist Itai Anghel, they failed. They could not run the risk of asking anyone to speak for attribution to the Israeli media, so they were reduced to describing the atmosphere around them in broad brushstrokes.

But somehow the enthusiasm of the popular uprising, which introduced young Israelis to telegenic, articulate young Egyptian activists via social media, did have an impact.

Fast forward five months to July 2011, when tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets to demonstrate in what became known as the social justice uprising.

From the start, it was completely clear that the organizers of the demonstrations were profoundly influenced by the Egyptian revolution. They adopted the chants of Tahrir, customizing them for their cause. Instead of “the people demand the fall of the regime” in Arabic, they chanted “the people demand social justice” in Hebrew. They carried placards that read, “Ben Ali, Mubarak, Qadhafi … Netanyahu.” One enormous banner was emblazoned with the Arabic word “erhal” – “leave” –the same word Egyptians chanted rhythmically leading up to Mubarak’s resignation. On the same banner, in Hebrew: “Egypt is here.”

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'5 Broken Cameras' director: There is no room for guilt - only taking responsibility

NEW YORK — Before Guy Davidi co-directed and produced 5 Broken Cameras, he was involved in Indymedia and an experienced filmmaker. He was also associated with Anarchists Against the Wall, Israeli anti-occupation activists. This is how he came to know the West Bank village of Bil’in, home of the film’s co-director, Emad Burnat.

Emad Burnat (left) and Guy Davidi at a screening of 5 Broken Cameras in New York City (credit: Lisa Goldman)

“I lived in the village for two months in 2005,” he recalled, during a conversation that took place at a coffee shop in New York, where he was promoting the film ahead of the Oscars. “That was an intense time, with the [Palestinian Legislative Council] election. That was also the time of the night raids and arrests. The struggle was just beginning. I used to go out and film the soldiers, or try to stop them. And that was when I started to get to know Emad, because he used to go out and film when I did.”

Over the next five years, Burnat shot 700 hours of footage. Every Friday afternoon, week after week, through the present day, the villagers have been holding demonstrations against Israel’s wall, which severed them from their agricultural land. Burnat filmed the tear gas, the bullets, the arrests, the beatings — and the death of his cousin, Bassem Abu-Rahmeh (“Phil”), who died when an Israeli soldier shot a tear gas canister directly at his chest.

With another 300 hours of footage from other sources, Davidi and Burnat scripted and edited the film so that the narrative focuses on the 2005 birth of Burnat’s son Gibreel, who grew up against the background of the village’s struggle and all the attendant violence; and on the eponymous five cameras, broken successively by tear gas canisters, rubber bullets and similar violent incidents.  The result is a deeply moving, thought-provoking documentary that won critical acclaim and a major award at the Sundance Festival. Then came the Oscar nomination, in the category of best feature documentary.

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Despite controversy, Brooklyn College BDS panel is a non-event

NEW YORK — After more than a week of controversy, including an editorial in the New York Times and a statement from Mayor Bloomberg, Brooklyn College hosted a discussion of BDS with Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti and nothing happened. That fact alone seems worthy of a story these days.

In a post for +972, Mairav Zonszein wrote eloquently about the outrageous attempts to intimidate the college into canceling the event. Alan Dershowitz started the whole controversy, but New York City public officials were quick to follow, with several threatening to cut the college’s funding. The New York Times published an editorial of quiet dismay, noting that “critics have used heated language to denigrate the speakers,” adding, “The sad truth is that there is more honest discussion about American-Israeli policy in Israel than in this country. Too often in the United States, supporting Israel has come to mean meeting narrow ideological litmus tests.”

Mayor Bloomberg expressed himself a bit more bluntly. “If you want to go to a university where the government decides what kind of subjects are fit for discussion,” he said, “I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea.”

And after all that, the event turned out to be a non-event. An audience of about 300 people sat quietly and listened to Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti speak, which they did — without interruption. People lined up quietly to ask questions at the microphone during the Q&A. As always, there were a few eccentrics who made statements, usually of the UFO variety, instead of asking questions. There was some post-panel schmoozing in another room, with books for sale laid out on a table and Omar Barghouti sitting behind another table to sign his tome on BDS.

And then everyone went home.

There were no heated arguments and no disturbances. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. No-one shouted “death to Israel”or anything remotely similar — except a contingent of Neturei Karta, who always show up at this type of Palestine-related event.

Neturei Karta at Brooklyn College

I’m always a bit disturbed to see BDS advocates, who talk about Palestinian rights in the same breath as LGBT rights and feminism, rush to photograph and be photographed with these men, whose beliefs and lifestyle tolerate...

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New entry permits grant Israeli nationality to Palestinian, but without the rights

Entry permit for Palestinians entering the West Bank

On February 4, 2013, a Palestinian resident of the West Bank received this entry permit when he crossed the Allenby Bridge from Jordan. The big blue letters at the top inform the holder that the State of Israel’s Border Patrol has granted him entry, making it look as though the territory he was entering — Palestine — was actually Israel. Under the blue letters at the top, next to the words “Entry Permit,” the Hebrew words say, “Owner of Palestinian ID card.” But at the lower right, where it says in Hebrew “le’um,” or nationality, the border control typed ISR, for Israeli.

He is not, by the way, an Israeli citizen.

With very rare exceptions, Israeli citizens are not allowed to use Allenby Bridge; they are supposed to use Sheikh Hussein Bridge in northern Israel when they cross between Jordan and Israel, so that they do not traverse the West Bank.

Perhaps the border guard made an error when s/he typed ISR. It’s possible. But if so, it is a very telling mistake. As more and more people talk about Israel and the West Bank becoming a de facto single state, with liberty for some and unequal rights for all, the State of Israel suddenly, without any announcement, changed its procedure for Palestinians crossing Allenby Bridge. Until February 4, Palestinians entering the West Bank from Jordan used a permit issued by the Israeli army. The army also issues these permits to Palestinian applicants wishing to cross one of the checkpoints along the separation barrier. Now Allenby Bridge has become an entry point into what the State of Israel seems to regard as its territory — and its residents, like the man who received this document, are labeled “Israeli,” although they do not have any of the rights of an Israeli citizen. He cannot even visit his family in East Jerusalem; the army will not grant him a permit.

The procedure apparently changed overnight, with no prior announcement.  The person who received the document in the photo crosses the bridge frequently but was given this piece of paper for the first time on Monday crossing. A cousin who crossed on the day before (February 3) said that he did not receive...

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The Gatekeepers: 'If this film does not lead to change, there is no hope for Israel'

NEW YORK — “If this film does not lead to change, there is no hope for Israel,” said Israeli director Dror Moreh. He was referring to his new documentary The Gatekeepers, which has been nominated for an Academy Award. The title of the film refers to the six directors of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, who, in a series of extraordinary interviews with the director, speak about their work in detail for the first time.

Perhaps partly in response to Moreh’s personal charisma and partly out of what seems to be deep concern born of real patriotism, these men are strikingly candid and thoughtful. Avraham Shalom, head of the Shin Bet under Menachem Begin, speaks for the first time about the 1984 Kav 300 affair, when terrorists who attacked an inter-city bus were photographed alive upon arrest and were then killed in custody. Carmi Gillon speaks about his personal crisis after failing to prevent the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. They speak openly about the great danger posed by Jewish terror, particularly given that the men who plotted to blow up the Dome of the Rock, for example, are part of the Israeli establishment. They describe in detail the process of establishing control over occupied territory — learning to speak fluent Palestinian Arabic and memorizing the layout of every Palestinian village and town, building by building, house by house. The suffocating sense they convey is that the Palestinians living in occupied territory have no personal freedom; they are under perpetual surveillance, no matter what they are doing.

What these men describe is the process by which Israel became after 1967 a state that is ruled by the Shin Bet, rather than governed by the prime minister’s office. And in doing so, they confirm everything the so-called loony left has been saying about the occupation and its destructive effect on Israeli society.

We are winning the battle and losing the war, they say. And more: The only way to resolve this conflict is to sit down and negotiate, and yes that includes speaking with Hamas; we have made the lives of the Palestinians miserable and unbearable; the occupation has made Israel into a Shin Bet state; we are the edge of an abyss; there is no-one thinking for the people in the prime minister’s office; the future is bleak and gray.

In response to a quote from Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu...

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Ex-pats launch Israeli Opposition Network, call for regime change in Israel

UPDATE: Scroll to bottom for corrections.

New York – For Yael Berda, the unexpectedly strong showing of Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party in Israel’s recent national elections is no reason for centrists or liberals to celebrate. Lapid’s party labels itself centrist, she says, but its domestic and security policies are so similar to the right wing parties’ that it will only serve to bolster their agenda. The neophyte politician is from Israel’s wealthy Ashkenazi elite, which identifies with Europe and the United States. “In that cultural sense,” she said, “You can call Lapid a liberal.” But not in terms of his views on security and wealth distribution.

“The best way to understand Yair Lapid,” she said, “Is to see him as an Israeli Sarkozy.”

Berda, an Israeli studying for her doctorate at Princeton University, joined together with a group of Israeli academics at various universities in the United States to form a group called the Israeli Opposition Network. Yesterday they sent out a global email announcement that amounts to a sort of manifesto:

Israelis living in the United States who oppose current Israeli Leadership launch “Israel Opposition Network” warning that election results threaten democracy and rule of law in Israel

 [January 23, 2013, New York] A group of highly engaged young Israeli intellectuals and professionals living the United States who are concerned about Israel’s increasingly fragile democracy have launched the ‘Israeli Opposition Network’ , a political movement opposed to the current political leadership in Israel.

“It’s a mistake to look at the results of today’s election in Israel as a division between two blocks,” says Nitzan Lebovic, a professor of history and a member of the Israeli Opposition Network. “The large majority of the parties in both blocks represent something closer to a Conservative agenda in American and European terms.”

“As advocates for human and civil rights, we fear election results still reflect a political deadlock that stifles the possibility for change. The rise of a centrist party calling for the draft of the ultra religious is not expected to address the more serious concerns about Israel. As long as control is maintained over a large population of Palestinians with no representation and no citizenship, Israel’s label as ‘democratic’ remains an unfulfilled promise,” says Itamar Mann, an Israeli lawyer at Harvard Yale Law School.

“With over 25% under the poverty line and the wholesale privatization of national assets to a small number...

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Campaign video decrying intermarriage is labeled racist

With national elections less than two weeks away, political campaign videos are much in the news. A few days ago Noam Sheizaf wrote about the Balad party video that was banned, allegedly for mocking Hatikvah, the national anthem. Now Shas, the Mizrachi ultra-Orthodox party that is predominantly Moroccan, is getting some heat for a campaign video that some have decried as racist.

In an image that Mordecai Richler and Philip Roth would recognize, the video shows a short, swarthy, curly-haired man standing next to a gorgeous, statuesque blonde under the huppah, or marriage canopy. Behind them stands a stern-looking security guard, arms folded over his chest. Relatives frame the couple on either side. According to the script in the video (subtitled in English, below), the blonde’s name is Marina and she’s just obtained a quickie conversion, courtesy of Avigdor Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu.

In broken, heavily-accented Hebrew, she tells him that all she has to do is dial 1-800-CONVERT on the fax machine while they’re standing under the huppah and  - voila! –  a conversion certificate pops out.

Intermarriage is a big no-no amongst religious and traditional Jews. Traditionally, Jews are not enthusiastic about converts, either. The Israeli rabbinate makes conversion a very onerous process that includes months of living under scrutiny in an Orthodox community. Non-Orthodox conversions are not accepted. Civil marriage performed in Israel is not legally binding, but there is a loophole — getting married abroad, then registering the union with the Ministry of Interior, thus bypassing the religious authorities.

But if the mother is not Jewish, the state will not recognize the children as Jewish. This can be meaningless or problematic, depending on how attached one is to having officials bless rites of passage like weddings, coming of age, army service and death / burial.

For some non-practicing Jews, the religion of their spouse is immaterial. This drives the ultra-Orthodox crazy, because it goes against a central precept of their religious and cultural practice — i.e., keeping the bloodline pure.

Like the secular-liberal parties, Yisrael Beiteinu advocates civil marriage, since a fairly large percentage of its constituents are halakhically non-Jewish. Israel defines a Jew for immigration purposes as someone who has a single Jewish grandparent on either side of the family, while according to halakha the identity is strictly matrilineal. Once in Israel, the halakhically non-Jewish Jews resent...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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