Tel Aviv is often portrayed by Israeli hasbaristas as a hip, modern, and very liberal kind of place. So why do we learn now, from Dimi Reider, that the city is putting money into a program to “treat” young Jewish women who date and/or marry Arab men?
Petty apartheid, anyone?
Reider translates a Hebrew-original article by Moria Ben Yossef in Zman Tel-Aviv that tells us the municipality is putting around $66,000 into a program to locate and “treat” up to 120 of these allegedly “troubled” young women under 22.
The program was reportedly advocated primarily by council member Benjamin Babyouf of the Shas Party.
Ben Yossef quotes a Shas activist as saying,
- “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.. They [go] 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… ”
Actually, I see two things happening here. One is the municipality giving funding to an effort aimed at enforcing “racial purity” and blocking (gasp!) dating and sexual liaisons that cross national/religious lines.
The other is the municipality supporting the efforts of members of a tightknit and socially conservative community– in this case, the Bukharan Jewish community– to control the sexual activities of its own young women members.
When this happens in Muslim societies, rights activists in the west immediately (and imho, rightly) issue loud protests. So when will we hear them do so in this case?
Reider tells us that in Israel itself, the head of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, ACRI, has already publicly criticized the measure. That’s great.