Home > Human Rights and Jewish Values, Racism in Israel > Tel Aviv presents: Municipal program to prevent Arab boys from dating Jewish girls

Tel Aviv presents: Municipal program to prevent Arab boys from dating Jewish girls

Dimi Reider is a journalist and photographer, working  from Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  His articles have been published in the Guardian, Jerusalem Post, Index on Censorship, Counterpunch and Peace Reporter.  Dimi co-edits Kav-Hutz – an attempt to provide  fresh and engaging commentary and analysis on the world outside Israel.  He currently works for Haaretz newspaper. He blogs at Dimi’s Notes.


Scroll down for update on this post.

Maariv reported on February 23 that the  Tel Aviv municipality launched  a “counselling program” to “help”  Jewish girls who date and/or marry Arab boys.

Grassroots and governmental campaigning against interfaith mingling is  nothing new in Israel: Just a few months ago there was a “task force” set up by the municipalioty of Petah Tikva, which is basically a suburb of Tel Aviv. The job of the task force was to patrol the city at night and break up Arab-Jewish dates. The London Times also covered the activities of a concerned parents’ group vigilante gang patrolling the rapidly integrating Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev, intimidating mixed couples.

On top of that, we have the activities of a huge, quasi-paramilitary group called Yad Leachim that goes on army-style”rescue operations” of Jewish women from their Gentile husbands (homegrown terrorist Jacob Teitel boasts working with them for a while, which they deny), and, lest we forget, the insane Jewish Agency campaign about non-Jewish partners kidnapping 50% of the young Jews in the Diaspora.

But this is the first time officially sanctioned racism, funded by taxpayers, has come to Tel Aviv, Israel’s liberal heartland.


Tel Aviv: City launches program to prevent relationships between Jewish girls and minorities

Moria Ben Yossef, Zman Tel-Aviv [Maariv Tel-Aviv Weekly Magazine] February 23 2010 [Hebrew original here]

The municipal finance committee decided three weeks ago to  give NIS 250,000 [~$66,000] to what it refers to as “‘an aid program for immigrant girls at risk”. The program will be launched this month in the Shapira, Kiryat Shalom and Nevs Ofer neighborhoods. The committee said some of the project’s aims are ‘locating immigrant girls at risk… case-specific family and community intervention to locate the girls… and locating the appropriate figures in the community to treat the girls.’

The program is aimed to treat up to 120 young women under 22, and is jointly run by the Tel Aviv Municipality, the Absorption Ministry (which will sponsor 75 percent of it), and the World Congress of Bukharan Jews

…”the term ‘distressed immigrant girls’ is politically correct whitewash for the true destination of the budget,” a senior source in the municipality said. “This is a war against the trend of scores of Jewish girls getting together with minority men and with migrant workers, and then getting into trouble with their families and the families of the minority men, that often ostracize them for being Jewish.”

According to councilwoman Yael Ben Yeffet (City for All), who sits on the finance committee, municipality director-general Menachem Leibe said at the meeting that the girls in question belong mainly to the Bukhara community, who get together with criminals and minority men. “When I asked him if getting together with members of minorities constituted being at risk, Leibe replied: ‘For the families that ostracise them it is’”, Ben Yeffet said.

The decision to support the boycott appears to have resulted from lobbying by councilman Benjamin Babyuf (Shas), himself a Bukhara Jew and a resident of Kiryat Shalom. Babyuf approached some months ago mayor Ron Huldai with a request to set up a municipal organization to locate and treat the girls in question. In his request, Babyuf spoke of girls getting “assimilated,” and suggested increasing funding to part-time religious schools operate by Shas, which take up young women meeting with Arab men.

These girls come from a poor socio-economic background,” Babyouf explains. “They don’t get enough attention. Very often these are unpopular girls whose appearance is unattractive, and these men use this,” he said.

“It’s happening across the country and in Tel Aviv, too, but it’s particularly rife in Jaffa and the south of the city, where the population is more diverse,” said a Shas activists who had been running the part-time religious schools for 20 years and can only be identified as N. “They got out hunting for girls… we’re talking about local Arabs and Arabs from villages coming to Tel Aviv for work. At first they shower them with love and money, they spoil them, and then they take them back to their village – usually after getting married. From our experience we know this is where this Romeo and Juliet plot turns into an action movie. They become enslaved. We had some really hard cases of girls who approached us and we helped them. They were begging to leave but their Arab boyfriends wouldn’t let them.”

N said there were more than 10 part-time religious schools capable of taking care of the girls, but they were suffering from overload and lack of funds. “We’re collapsing. Hundreds of girls are going through this. Girl falling after girl,” he said.

“It’s a frightening thing, the girls also begin using drugs and alcohol,” said Yaffo activist David Machlouf. “About a year and a half ago I witnessed the shocking case of a 15-year-old girl. This Arab guy hit on her, she became pregnant and got an abortion, He took her to his village and they dressed her up in a galabiya (Arab Dress) but everyone treated her horrifically, calling her a Jew-Jew. At some point she complained against him so he beat her up really badly. After that we took her to an organization in Bnei Brak, but later she went back to him again.”

UPDATE: In a statement issued today, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) expressed shock at the racism of the Tel Aviv municipality, as reported in the Ma’ariv article.
Hagai El-Ad, the director of the ACRI, said: “Neither the municipality of Tel Aviv nor any other official body is responsible for ‘racial purity.’ The idea of the municipality interfering in the weaving of romantic connections is inconceivable.”

For further information from the ACRI, contact spokeswoman Nirit Moskowitz.

Phone: +972 3 560 8185
Email: nirit@acri.org.il

  1. February 25, 2010 at 01:15

    To be honest, I am happy about the step they’re taking if only they’re not misusing their intentions on the socially unprivileged girls for radical religious groups’ opinions and aims.
    The idea itself – well I don’t know why the modern journalist of today in order to be “Western” and popular needs to condemn each step towards preservance of tradition, religion and national worldview.
    At the end it’s not the poor Arab boys who lose the game but the Jewish people and those young disoriented girls who throw themselves on the next man possible, often having no parents for an appropriate advice…I mean, cases of drugs, violence, destroyed fates after an intermarriage and, what we all forget, the extremely harsh impact of such mixed identities on children growing up in Israel and being born to such marriages…. Isn’t it obvious enough? What harm it does?

    I am happy for that my government is caring for the needs and such demands of our people. We were waiting a long time for such. The only dear I have is that it might be misused and that force will be used where it can be called a diminishing of another person’s freedom. As long as it is prevention, guideance, it is not diminishing freedom.

    By the way, “Yad le’achim” is not radical. Is there any evidence of in how far it is radical? It’s not western style, that’s right. In Israel, other things count than the “absolute freedom” as the absolute god.

    • Ari
      September 16, 2011 at 04:03

      You are right isralike, I’m happy you support measures which protect girls from the “extremely harsh impact” people like yourself must inflict upon offending mixed race couples and children. Your argument is essentially self-fulfilling as life for these people will be more difficult as long as people like yourself feel theatened and hostile.

  2. human
    February 25, 2010 at 18:43

    isralike, the fact that you see nothing wrong with blatant segregation is scary.

  3. christian zionist
    February 25, 2010 at 22:09

    I’m all envious of Israel. If only the US had the guts to do the same like in the good ol’ times! Now you can see those poor little white girls dating black studs all over the Bible Belt…

  4. YBD
    February 26, 2010 at 09:37

    Islam allows Muslim men to marry non-Muslim women. However, it absolutely forbids Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men. This is the cause of many of the all-too-commmon “family honor killings” we see among Arabs in Israel and throughout the rest of the Arab/Muslim world. Now, if you believe this counseling to prevent Jewish girls from getting involved with non-Jewish men is “racist” (Judaism opposes intermarriage, but is not “racist” since any sincere person can convert), the the Arabs/Muslims are also racist, but that, of course, is not mentioned in this article.

  5. Nate
    February 26, 2010 at 18:39

    YBD: All of you here so far, with the exception of human are unabashed racists. Most notably christian zionist, who sounds like a KKK member and is quite envious of israel for some strange reason. Some muslims are racists, some jews are racists, some christians are racists, this is because muslims and jews and christians are exactly alike, as human beings. However, you are just assuming that muslims are constantly committing honor killings, which is balony. Honor killings do happen all over the world, not just among muslims, and they are ancient tribal practices which have little if anything to do with any religion. Muslims are constantly demonized these days, people talk about how they don’t value life, how they don’t love their children, how they hate jews for no reason whatsoever, how they commit honor killings all the time, and these things are just racist myths with no basis in reality. No one in their right mind would applaud paramilitary gangs roaming through tel aviv intimidating mixed couples, unless they were racist to the core. Would you applaud gangs of skin heads going around intimidating white girls because they are walking next to an african american?

  6. March 1, 2010 at 00:13

    We are the Human Race.

  7. massadaddy
    March 8, 2010 at 22:20

    There are those who’d prefer Jewish people and Arabic people to just stopped breeding; full stop.

  8. ARTH
    April 25, 2010 at 14:48

    There are virtually no Jewish-Arab marriages or long term intimate relationships in Israel. This is, really, paranoia.

  9. ARTH
    April 26, 2010 at 00:20

    What about saving Jewish men from the hell of being married to an Arab woman? They really suffer…

  10. May 4, 2010 at 21:41

    I think the issue here is racial more than religious. Yes Islam has a policy which forbids women marrying non-Muslims. But this is religious and again the men can convert and marry these women. Now how much does race play socially– a big part. Find a happy example of an Indian or Arab woman going home and telling her parent she wants to marry a BLACK MAN, you will see fire, doesn’t matter what religion he is. He could be called Muhammad Al Hajji Al Medinah Al Fiqh ul-Sunnah.

    • Isralike
      December 9, 2010 at 03:43

      why would you say it’s racial? There is no such thing like a Jewish race or Arab race or any race whatsoever. It’s based on religious perceptions only, at least from the Jewish point of view and the same goes along with the motivations of the organisations such as Yad le Achim. Physically, we are built of CH3-x-molecules so who would care if there wasn’t something behind the physical stuff..?

  11. palgirl
    May 16, 2010 at 19:30

    MR. or MISS ARTH arab women don`t marry jewish men ok?

  12. ARTH
    May 18, 2010 at 22:16

    No, I am a man, and I am Jewish and I am married to a Muslim Moroccan woman. Also, I speak Arabic, and speak Arabic with my wife, most of the time. Moroccan women will marry anyone.

    • Isralike
      December 9, 2010 at 03:40

      HI ARTH, just a few question about your family life, hope it’s not sounding that personal : who do your children consider themselves to be or who do you consider them to be? (Apart from the well-known answer: human being)
      How do they get along with their somewhat bizarre, or let’s say, rarely found identity?
      Are you living in Israel?

      best wishes

  13. Tony28
    May 29, 2010 at 08:11

    @ YBD – They didn’t mention it because it’s completely irrelevant to the point of the article; there’s no need for any false “balance.” And what we are seeing is LITERALLY racism – it is motivated by prejudice against a particular ethnic group, discourages positive connections between different cultures and religions, and sanctions the activity of racially violent terrorist groups (sorry, but anyone who would try and “rescue” a woman from a marriage with someone from a different race IS A TERRORIST!)

    The fact that you try and ignore that by going “well… well… WHAT ABOUT THEM?!” Is really frightening.

    • Isralike
      December 9, 2010 at 03:45

      Sorry, but before judging everything and evryone in the world who does not conform to your personal worldview (whatever it is based on) – have you ever informed yourself about Yad le Achim or that new municipality project – or perhaps about the personal stories of those who were “rescued” and their children?

      It’s not a recommendation only for you, it goes out to everyone here speaking of “blatant racism” where there is no such thing as a race in Judaism.

  14. MASSIN
    June 2, 2010 at 14:52

    To be honest ,as a moroccan berber i do not see any prolem in getting married
    to a jewish woman,because we berbers have lived together with the jews for more than 2000 years ,we co-existed and respected eachother during many centuries without a single
    war .Our life has been changed to the worst just since the arrival of the arabs in our land!!!!!take it or leave it ,it is the truth.!!!!!!

  15. Roman Soiko
    June 7, 2010 at 20:36

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16.
    •(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
    •(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
    •(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

    • Mikhael
      November 8, 2010 at 03:13

      Roman Soiko :
      Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16.
      •(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

      Israel recognizes validly contracted marriages between members of different faith communities, the only hitch is they have to be performed outside of Israel–but if a “mixed” couple goes abroad (Cyprus, for instance) and has the marriage solemnized there, full faith and credit is accorded to the legitimacy of such a marriage.

  16. Yemeni
    June 11, 2010 at 13:46

    Massin if there was a choice? to be invaded! by Arabs or northern Europeans? who would have you chosen, ! of-course the basic fact remains… the Berber where going to be invaded! 🙂

    For the rest of the respondents to the Article, I agree with YBD. This is not racism. However Human rights should prevail.

  17. Mooser
    July 19, 2010 at 18:44

    Can’t you guys recognise a scam when you see one? This is so obvious! It’s the old “wingman” ploy. So they stop the girl, chase away her Arab date, and then one of the Purity Patrol starts the pitch: “An Arab? An Arab you want to go out with, already? What, you don’t have enough trouble what with the world-wide burgeoning of anti-Semitism? You don’t want to go out with an Arab! But look, I can see you are lonely, but a good Jewish girl. Why not go out with my friend Uri? He’s a good Jewish boy, and he’s looking for a wife, and look, did you ever see a man so pious (Uri quickly dons prayer-shawls and dials up the Talmud on his i-phone and starts davaning) And so good looking, where are you going to find an Arab boy with looks like that? And your parents, you’ve got to think of your parents…”

    Can’t we just go back to the village matchmaker, and skip all this?

    • Isralike
      December 9, 2010 at 03:48

      Well, beside all the irony, the village matchmakers did have their point if we are to remember how many generations were formed due to the skills of matchmakers. Too many of us wouldn’t be here today. The Jewish nation profited a lot from the matchmakers. They may thank them for their existence up to now – a whole lot of them! 🙂

  18. Mooser
    July 19, 2010 at 19:04

    I am so glad I live where I can’t here the conversation in the Purity Patrol van in between stops. Nothing like self-pitying bunch of horny Jewish racists, cruising around and wondering why the girls go for Arabs.

    Sooner than later, a good comedy-improve team is going to get hold of this Purity Patrol thing, and develop a skit they can play for years.

    • Isralike
      December 9, 2010 at 03:50

      Lol. You#re upset.

      Who spoke of “Purity Patrol”?
      Try to translate it into Hebrew (if you can) and go look whether such a thing exists or has been made up by some eager translator. Haha.

  19. elias
    July 20, 2010 at 14:51

    racists! =/

  20. random
    March 31, 2011 at 05:22

    I’m sorry if I misunderstand, but what if they happen to be in love? I understand Jewish-Arab marriages are extremely rare and frowned upon, but I’d imagine that somewhere, there are couples like that… it seems like utter discrimination to jump on a Jewish girl and Arab boy, chase away the latter, and try to convince the former to marry within the Jewish community.

  21. Researcher
    May 27, 2011 at 02:06

    The issue for Israelis is not racial purity, but cultural continuity. the girls are unconsciously trying to create peace between the two entities, but this is very difficult. Romeo and Juliet has a sad ending.

  22. Neo
    December 1, 2011 at 07:27

    I think that their agenda is ridiculous. It sounds good to prevent abuse and whatnot, but abuse is colorblind. It happens in interfaith relationships only as much as it happens in same-faith relationships.

    Full disclosure, I am a Muslim Bangladeshi-American boy dating a Jewish American girl. I love her very dearly, and fortunately the community here is tolerant of relationships like ours. However, I can empathize with the Arab men. I certainly would be unhappy if I were being hassled just because I happened to fall in love with a Jewish girl.

    I care about her safety very dearly. I could never hurt her, and I would never want to see her get hurt. If we love each other, why is my ethnicity of any concern to somebody else? She is safe, why create the hassle? It wouldn’t make her any safer, but it certainly would make her uncomfortable that she is being judged for who she loves. That’s not fair, and it doesn’t take into account HER feelings

  1. February 24, 2010 at 14:24
  2. February 24, 2010 at 17:58
  3. February 24, 2010 at 23:38
  4. February 25, 2010 at 02:42
  5. February 25, 2010 at 05:06
  6. March 23, 2011 at 11:03
  7. December 21, 2011 at 16:49

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