In "Israel" there is a "state-sanctioned anti-miscegenation program" and an "Anti-Assimilation Department" which "works to prevent Jewish girls from dating Muslim men."
The program "enjoys the support of the municipality and the police."
The program "enjoys the support of the municipality and the police."
Israel's vile anti-miscegenation squads
When the police lend support to vigilante groups hounding Jewish-Arab couples, what hope is there for coexistence?
Seth Freedman | The Guardian (UK) |29 September 2009
While the proliferation of ultra-orthodox "vigilante police" is a stain on Israeli society, their Taliban-esque actions can at least be contextualised as the inevitable consequence of religious fundamentalism gone wild. Such communities are dominated by leaders who refuse to accommodate any form of modernization or freedom of thought into their archaic systems of governance, and the emergence of "modesty squads" is simply a manifestation of such primitive and patriarchal thinking. Regardless of the reasons behind their appearance, the groups should not be tolerated by Israel's leaders, as they contravene the most basic human rights of the state's citizens.
Israeli lawmakers have a duty to clamp down hard on the mobs' extrajudicial activities, in order to prevent a localized problem spreading from isolated religious strongholds into the rest of the country's towns and cities. Yet the ultra-orthodox (rabbinic) enforcers have good reason to challenge any efforts to rein in their sheriff's posses, given that the example set by several Israeli municipalities implies that what is sauce for the religious goose is sauce for the secular gander.
While the local authorities in Petah Tikva, Kiryat Gat and elsewhere aren't sanctioning all-out violence against girls deemed behaving inappropriately, their modus operandi is no different in intent – and the targets of their self-righteous rage no more deserving of punishment – than the girls in Meah Shearim opting out of the ultra-restrictive dress code.
According to reports in the Israeli press: "A special team in the youth department of the Petah Tikva municipality will locate [Jewish] girls in the habit of meeting with men from minorities and will assist them … 'The problem of minority men is well-known,' said the chief of the youth department, Moshe Spektor. 'Our attempts to deal with this problem are real and sincere. The municipality is making an effort to examine the matter in co-operation with the police."
Of course, the "minority" in question is the Arab community – rather than any of the Jewish minorities in Israel such as those hailing from Ethiopia, Russia or South America – since it is the spectre of intermarriage between Jews and gentiles which is the cause of such abject fear among diehard Israeli nationalists, both religious and secular alike.
As reported in Ha'aretz, Kiryat Gat's state-sanctioned anti-miscegenation program's sole aim is preventing Jewish girls from becoming romantically involved with Israeli Bedouin (Arabs): The program enjoys the support of the municipality and the police, and is headed by Kiryat Gat's welfare representative, who goes to schools to warn girls of the "exploitative Arabs."
The program uses a video entitled "Sleeping with the Enemy," which features a local police officer and a woman from the Anti-Assimilation Department, a wing of the religious organisation Yad L'ahim, which works to prevent Jewish girls from dating Muslim men.
Many Jews in Israel and the diaspora frown upon the idea of their children marrying out of the flock, some even going as far as cutting their children out of their wills and mourning them as though they had died should they take a non-Jewish partner for a spouse.
While this is by no means restricted to the Jewish faith, the idea of such proscriptions being incorporated at state level – whether against Jews, Muslims or any other category of "undesirables" – is racism reminiscent of the dark days of segregationist America and pre-enlightened European states.
This week, the Times (of London) carried an illustrative and disturbing feature on the Israeli phenomenon, demonstrating the unabashed bigotry of those behind the purity patrols... That the (Israeli) police would even deign to co-operate with such poisonous and prejudiced characters and their fantasies of racial purity is indicative of the malaise gripping certain sectors of Israeli society, both at street and state level.
Whatever the more blinkered supporters of Israel's sectarianism say, day after day more evidence piles up attesting to the shocking reality behind Israel's mask of being a tolerant, equitable and democratic "country of all its citizens."
The likes of the modesty patrols and the anti-miscegenation squads belong in the furthest recesses of history, yet apparently the Israeli authorities are not only happy to tolerate their presence, but to actively support their work as well.
Were the shoe to be on the other foot, with Jews singled out for such base racial discrimination, the same people supporting such behavior now against Arabs would rightly be up in arms and demanding justice in the name of the persecuted.
But, of course, this is Israel, and therefore somehow "different" and "unique" – the standard retorts of those unable to defend Israeli crimes with any semblance of rational debate.
And while they continue banging their drums to drown out any criticism of the Israeli state, at ground level the divisive and destructive behavior continues, and another nail is driven into the coffin of coexistence in the Holy Land. (Emphasis supplied).
Israeli vigilantes target young Arab-Jewish couples
Sheera Frenkel in Pisgat Ze’ev | Times (London, UK) | Sept. 28, 2009
It’s past 10 p.m, but work has just begun for the group of vigilantes in a small white hatchback patrolling the streets of Pisgat Ze’ev — a Jewish settlement on the outskirts of east Jerusalem.
As the car crawls through the nearly empty streets, the men peer out at couples. They say they are experts at spotting those that don’t "match."
“Stop, right there. Stop the car. Is he an Arab? That dark guy...If they are both Jewish, keep the car moving!” yells out "David," a 31-year-old Jewish settler who does not use his real name. For more than a decade, David has considered it his unofficial job to patrol the streets looking for mixed Arab-Jewish couples.
“We are protecting the Jewish people, our traditions, our heritage. Some people just get mixed up. We talk to them, explain why it’s important for Jews to be with Jews,” he said.
His group, which works with police, goes by several names, including "Fire for Judaism," is composed of up to 45 men and funded by private donations. Members say they are fighting a “growing epidemic” of Arab-Jewish dating and spend as many hours as they can on patrol.
Similar groups have formed across the country, including in the southern Negev city of Beersheba, and northern port of Haifa. In Petah Tikva, a blue-collar city in the center of Israel, the municipality has formed a unit to discourage Arab-Jewish relationships. In Pisgat Ze’ev, the growing number of Arab-Jewish couples is seen as the result of more Jewish settlements in Arab east Jerusalem.
“The problem is always with Jewish girls dating Arab men. The Arab guy comes and buys them things, treats them well. They fall for it. They can’t see what they are doing,” says David.
Sarah, who asked not to use her real name, said it is men like David who are the problem, not her Arab boyfriend, Zadar. “I’m not stupid, or gullible or looking for trouble. I’m a Jewish girl who happened to meet a guy I like, who happens to be Arab. It’s my business. We have to go other places to go on dates, places where these guys won’t find us,” she said.
In Petah Tikva, municipal workers said they only sought out under-age Arab-Jewish couples when asked to intervene by parents. “This is not a racist thing. Statistically, these girls wind up in trouble. We try to step in before real harm can be done by talking to the teens, making social workers available to them. We never use force,” a spokesman said.
David says that he too, will not use force but on a recent night out, it became clear that he was prepared to do just about anything else. At the start of his patrol he caught sight of a “known problem couple." It was a young woman, stepping into a vehicle that he said was full of Arab men.
A car chase ensued through the windy mountain roads before the vehicle got away. David took down a licence plate number and called in the incident to the police. “I am doing this for her own good. She doesn’t know what she is getting into. It’s not like these guys are offering her a future.” (Emphasis supplied).