Full moon fever. The 15 Av in the Jewish calendar, corresponding to the full moon we had this weekend. Romance is in the air. Sort of. In the Bible, jews would head to Amuka in the Upper Galilee to pray to find their significant other. It is also considered the most mysterious day in the jewish calendar; despite there being no special observances or customs associated with this date. Many years ago, legend has it, the daughters of Jerusalem would go and dance in the vineyards on the 15th of Av, and whoever was not married to would make the pilgrimage to find themself a wife on this great festival. It is a mystery since the full moon of the month of Av is the festival of the future Redemption and hence, a day, whose inherent essence, its intrinsic significance, is not knowable or comprehensible to ourselves which have yet to be redeemed.
But until then, things can get a little complicated, especially in contemporary Israel; where since Independence over 5,000 Jewish women have married Muslim men, many disappearing into the fabric of an Islamic society. Their children are often said to be violently anti-Jewish. And the sacriest thought is that such a child, Jewish according to law, would commit acts of terrorism against jews….
(see link at end) …Married life is challenging even without your faith or ethnicity becoming a sticking point. But an Arab man married to a Jewish wife in the Middle East proves that love is above the political and cultural tensions.
Sami Aby Al-Sibai is Palestinian and has two wives, which is not that unheard of in the Arab World. But when one wife is an Arab and the other is a Jew, it is a little unusual.
“When I married her, I didn’t think about her faith or nationality, or whether she is Arab or Jew. I love her and I always wanted to be her husband. We are not guilty of anything. It’s the states’ leaders who are to blame,” says Sami Aby Al-Sibai.
Sami lives with his two wives and ten children in a village in south Hebron. The Palestinian city is the largest in the West Bank and Israelis are forbidden by law to enter. But Sami met his Jewish wife, Leo, who originally comes from Russia, in Israel. They were both working in Tel Aviv and had to communicate in Hebrew until Leo learnt Arabic.
…“I am not afraid of anything. I am part of the Arab community. Once I was traveling from Israel to the West Bank and was stopped by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint. They told me that after the crossing began the territory of the West Bank. I told them I know as I live there,” says Leo Abu Sba-a, the Jewish wife of Sami Aby Al-Sibai.
But marriages like theirs are unusual. Not only because of their different faiths but because of the political tension in the country between Jews and Arabs As a result, most Israeli Jews wouldn’t even think of dating across the border. Interfaith and civil marriages are illegal – which means Leo had to convert to marry her husband….“The moment she declares she is a Muslim, she becomes a Muslim and there is no more discrimination against her,” says Ziad Abu Zayyad, Former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs. “Before 1948, intermarriages between Jews and Arabs were made in the elite classes of Arabs. After 1967, the change became in the opposite direction – intermarriage between Arabs and Jewish boys came to be limited to underground, people involved in drugs.”…
Sami was placed under house arrest by Israeli security for his relationship with Leo. She was banished from her family, which is why it’s so important for them that their children grow up with tolerance. In the house is a Koran and a Torah, Arabic and Jewish music is played, and both languages are spoken. But still, it doesn’t prevent the outside world from creeping in. Read More:http://www.rt.com/news/arab-jewish-love-palestine/
(see link at end)…The letter was organized by the organization Lehava, which claims to “save daughters of Israel” from what it calls assimilation. Lehava also took part in the recent demonstrations against selling or renting homes to non-Jews.
The group operates a shelter for women who leave their Arab partners and educate the public on what it calls the dangers that arise from contact between Jews and Arabs. The organization also called for the boycott of the Gush Etzion branch of the supermarket Rami Levi, where Arab and Jewish workers are on shift side-by-side.
In the last few weeks, Bentzi Gopstein of Kiryat Arba, the director of Lehava, convinced the wives of important rabbis in the religious Zionist movement to sign on to the letter. Among the signatories were Netzhiya Yosef, wife of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, Esther Lior, wife of Rabbi Dov Lior, Shulamit Melamed of Beit Alon and Starna Druckman of Kiryat Motzkin.
The rabbis’ wives letter claims to alert its readers to the phenomenon of Arabs who go by Jewish nicknames, claiming that they are kind and gentle until they can isolate a Jewish woman, whereupon they beat and humiliate her and do not allow her to escape. Read More:http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/rabbis-wives-urge-israeli-women-stay-away-from-arab-men-1.333841
…(see link at end)…Jonathan Rosenblum: When they were dating, their Arab boyfriends could not shower them with enough gifts, could not stop telling them how much they loved them. Once married, they find themselves imprisoned, cut off from their families, watched constantly by their husbands and his family members, who threaten them – quite credibly – that they will kill them if they try to escape. Often they are treated as little more than chattel.
They are viewed as slatterns by the women of the village, and their children are never allowed to forget their Jewish origins. Often those children become the most vehement Jew haters, as a means of overcoming the stigma of their origins. When fighting breaks out between Israel and the Palestinians, the women may be beaten by their husbands, even attacked with an axe, as scapegoats for the Jewish people.
WE ARE NOT TALKING about a small phenomenon. The Ministry of Interior estimates that there are between 10,000-20,000 children of Jewish mothers and Arab fathers in Israel. And that number does not include those living in the Gaza Strip or the Palestinian Authority, and may not include those whose mothers converted to Islam when they married. (When the women convert, their chances of keeping their children, even if they manage to escape, are reduced because all divorce proceedings are governed by Islamic law.) A recent Jerusalem Post article on the situation in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Zev neighborhood spoke of sixty Jewish girls who have disappeared into Arab villages over the last ten years, most never to be heard from again.
And the problem is growing. Tzachi Laloosh, who runs the Learn and Live youth centers in Tzefat told me that when he opened the centers four years ago he was working with seven Jewish girls in ongoing relationships with Arabs. Today he is working with 63 such girls, and Learn and Live has 600 such files for all its centers in the North. Two counselors for another chareidi organization that runs a hot line for girls in relationships with Arabs told me a year ago that they receive between 150-250 referrals a month, despite minimal advertising and a focus primarily on the religious community….Read More:http://thejewishreporter.com/2011/08/05/why-jewish-girls-shouldnt-date-arabs/