The government funds an ultra-racist organization, which campaigns against “miscegenation” and assimilation
The LHVH (“Preventing assimilation in the holy land”) organization made a lot of headlines in recent months, much due to the very active MK Tzippi Hotovely (Likud). It is hyperactive in preventing “miscegenation marriages” and preventing the pure daughters of Israel from soiling themselves in contact with non-Jews. It is also rather quick to support the lynching of non-Jews (Hebrew), even if the lynching has nothing to do with assimilation/”miscegenation”.
At this weekend’s Haaretz supplement, Uri Blau and Shay Greenberg show (Hebrew) that LHVH, which is an admittedly Kahanist organization, receives indirect funding from the government. It is funded by the Khemla association, which in turn receives funds from the Welfare Ministry.
Originally, note Blau and Shay, Khemla was in fact a welfare association, but in 2002 it amended its goals and added two new articles: “Aiding girls from broken houses who are facing the danger of forced conversion (i.e., assimilation; U.B. and S.G.) and falling into a life of crime, by rehabilitating them in an apartment and by providing them with sociological and psychological help to re-enter Jewish society”; the other was “Aiding the hill people [i.e., extreme settlers – YZG] in Judea, Samaria and Gaza”.
The leaders of Khemla are prominent Kahanists. One of them, Levi Hazan, spent six months in prison – a rather severe sentence, when it comes to Jewish terrorists – for his part in an attack on a Palestinian bus, which wounded six. Others of Khemla’s leaders were held in administrative detention, which is rather unusual for Jews. The manager of Khemla’s women safehouse, Rakhel Baranes, is one of the signatories of the “rabbis’ wives letter”. Apart from this safehouse – which Blau and Greenberg report they found empty – LHVH also operates a “ratting line”, encouraging people to report on neighbors planning to rent apartment to non-Jews, as well as providing special “kosher titles” to business who promise to refrain from employing non-Jews. The government, through the Welfare Ministry, is responsible for about half the yearly budget of Khemla, about 600,000 to 700,000 NIS (circa 175,000 to 203,000 USD).
Now, this is blatant racism, for one simple reason. According to Jewish law, which Israel recognizes and in this case enforces, Judaism is passed through the matrilineal line. The children of a Jewish woman who converts, or who merely chooses a non-Jewish life partner, are Jews. At best, they are “captive children”, i.e. Jews who did not receive proper Jewish upbringing. On the other hand, a Jewish man who picks a non-Jewish wife or partner exits Judaism – again, we’re speaking Halachic, Orthodox, law here – and his children will not be considered Jews. It would make sense, then, for such anti-miscegenation campaigns to focus on Jewish males; yet, for reasons easy to guess – racism always went hand in hand with misogyny – that is not the case, and we are warned of Palestinian witches brewing seduction potions from the lungs of rabbits (Hebrew).
LHVH isn’t the only Israeli organization active in this field. It is preceeded by the old ultra-Orthodox Yad Le’Akhim association, which also dabbled in “anti-missionary” activity, and as such is more of an equal opportunity hater. Yad Le’Akhim, too, enjoys official support: The city of Ashkelon provided it with a building (Hebrew), and it is receives systematic aid from the Ministry of the Interior (Hebrew).
Hotovely claimed her support of the Kahanists was derived from “a concept of Zionism, which says that Jews should marry Jews”. In this she is certainly correct. The great enemies of Zionism weren’t the antisemites – they were often enthusiastic allies, since they, too, thought Jews should emigrate from Europe – but rather the assimilators and the member of the Bund. The first group denies the concept of Jewish fate, and the latter refused to accept the “a people apart” concept, and tied their fate to that of the other people in the bubbling cauldron of Eastern Europe. With few exceptions, the Zionists were as hostile to a Jew who chose a non-Jewish partner as the Orthodox rabbis were. Mapai, the forerunner of Labor, for all its talk of fraternity, refused to open a mixed (i.e., combining Jewish and Arab children) kindergarten in 1930s Haifa – citing fear of assimilation.
You could claim that, ideally, Zionism could exist without being racist. Practically, however, it’s hard to think of a form of Zionism – Jewish ultra-nationalism – which could promote equality. Israeli law does not recognize equality to be a basic legal right. Even those Zionists who attacked the folly and unrighteousness of Jewish law stopped at the primal barrier of the fear of blood defilement.
So now we learn that furtively, underground, the state of Israel cooperates with the most extreme racists, in order to use them in the struggle against Jews’ right to cease being Jews. It’s worth noting that the Ministry of Education already told Hotovely’s committee it will aid the struggle against assimilation by “increasing Jewish identity” and “advocating family life”. But there are limits to what the Education Ministry – even one which forbids its students to read the universal declaration of human rights since it recognizes the right to convert (Hebrew) – can do. The courts will make noise and possibly even act; there would be an international hue and cry; the Hasbara war effort may suffer. That’s what you have organizations like LHVH and Yad Le’Akhim for: Being the unofficial “modesty watch” of the Zionist state, acting where the social taboo against miscegenation – much stronger, say, than the one in pre-Nazi German society – isn’t good enough.
And remember: Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.