There is a new enemy for some Israelis: Romance between Jewish women and Arab men, and vigilantes have banded together to fight it. The vigilante groups are walking the streets and towns across Israel. The largest and most notorious is in the Jewish settlements that have sprung up in and around traditionally Arab East Jerusalem. Sheera Frenkel joined one of the groups on patrol.SHEERA FRENKEL: The small, white hatchback swings into a nearly deserted parking lot and does a quick look around. It's just after 10:00 at night, and the lot is clearly a prime destination for a teenage date night in the settlement of Pisgat Ze'ev. But David, a 31-year-old who lives here, is out for a different kind of prowl.DAVID: (Through translator) Go down to that parking center. Stop, stop, one minute. That's them over there. Check if there is a Jewish girl in that car over there.FRENKEL: Every night, David, who asked not to be called by his real name, patrols this and other neighboring Jewish settlements. His mission is to find Arab-Jewish couples and break up their dates.DAVID: (Through translator) My heart hurts every time I see a Jewish girl with an Arab. It's extremely upsetting. I asked myself: How did we get to this situation? How did we descend to this level? It is a serious step backwards, in our eyes.But apparently fears of the dusky, hyper-sexualized Muselman polluting Jewish womanhood aren't confined to the fringe. YNET:
The letter issued by leading rabbis' wives urging Jewish women to avoid contact with Arab men was thought up and executed within no more than 48 hours. "We thought it up the day before yesterday and were already working on it by Tuesday," said the letter's initiator, Anat Gofstein of the Lehava organization. "All the rabbis' wives were incredibly receptive to the idea. I only had to mention the assimilation phenomenon and they all signed."Here comes the best part:
Talking to Ynet, Gofstein said there was overwhelming agreement among the rabbis' wives when it came to the assimilation issue. "We talked about how close to home this issue is and it was obvious the trend had only grown further," she stated.
Gofstein claimed that assimilation had reached religious girls' high schools and seminaries. "We engage in the girls' rehabilitation after they emerge wounded and battered from the Arab villages," she said."We are interested in boosting prevention. The phenomenon must be stopped instead of waiting for the girls to remain in the villages making it harder to pull them out of Arab culture."
One of the rabbis' wives who signed the letter addressed the issue of whether the letter increases antagonism towards religion. "I don't understand what this antagonism you speak of," she told Ynet.Antagonism? What antagonism?
"Separatism is what sustained the Jewish people throughout time. It's our distinction. We are not out to cause uproar, we are here to raise a very painful issue. And yes, very painful matters need to be discussed openly. Who better to talk to the girls than the rabbis' wives?"Given the ascendance of the religious right in Israel -- and the increasingly anti-democratic bent of the government -- can old-fashioned anti-miscegenation laws be far behind?