Israel: Crowd shouts “Death to Arabs” at Jewish-Muslim Wedding

By Juan Cole

An Israeli crowd gathered outside the wedding of a Muslim man and a Jewish woman in Rishon Lezion, shouting “death to Arabs” on Sunday. They were from the far right Lehava group, and make a specialty of harassing couples in mixed marriages. They called Maral Malka, 23, a traitor for converting to Islam and marrying Mahmoud Mansour, 26. Both hail from Jaffa. Ms. Malka’s father, Yoram, opposed the marriage as well, and said that he had a problem with his new son-in-law because he is “an Arab.” (It is interesting that he used a racial rather than a religious epithet). Israel’s recently-elected president, Reuven Rivlin, denounced the protest as “outrageous.”

Religiously mixed marriages are not permitted in Israeli law, though they are recognized if conducted abroad and then the bride and groom return. Often couples fly to Cyprus for a marriage and honeymoon if they hail from different faiths but are Israeli citizens. An average of 20,000 Israelis get married in Cyprus every year, about 60% of them ineligible for marriage by the rabbinate. For others, going to Cyprus or the Czech Republic functions like an elopement, to avoid having to throw a huge wedding party. Some Palestinian-Israelis, one a Muslim and the other a Christian, also have to tie the knot abroad because their religious authorities won’t marry them. Israeli personal status law, like that in Lebanon and Egypt, is governed by the individual’s religious community.

This marriage could be conducted in Israel because Ms. Malka converted.

I remember when I was an early teen that it was still illegal for European-Americans and African-Americans to marry in Virginia.

Related video:

eNCAnews: “Inter-faith marriage remains a contentious subject in Israel”

12 Responses

  1. They fear mixed marriages because one day the majority of youth born will be the product of mixed marriage and racism will no longer be as prevalent. Already 1 in 5 marriages in the US are mixed race and people resent it.

    In Loving v Virginia, a white man and black woman who had married were interrupted as they slept in bed one night and arrested for having married one another. Israel seems to have learned from the US, just as Nazi Germany had, when it would label public benches as “Jewish only.”

  2. “Religiously mixed marriages are not permitted in Israeli law.”

    A truly stunning statement — absent from U.S. discussions of Israeli policy. A fantasy: regular points of fact about Israeli policies appearing on U.S. talking-head shows.

  3. Eric Swerdlin

    Merits a tweet from you. Will we see a tweet every time someone in an Arab country screams “death to Jews”? You’ll be busy.

    • Without the benefit of a poll, it is probably fair to say that many people who are offended by “death to the Arabs” are just as offended by “death to the Jews.”

  4. It is worth repeating: Gideon Levy considers Israel a “sick” society.

    “Gideon Levy, journaliste critique d’une société israélienne « malade »” Par Hélène Sallon – link to

    • …Israel a “sick” society

      Come to think about it the same diagnosis could be applied to the United States.

  5. My Palestinian American niece is expecting her second child by the son of an IDF soldier next month. Another American success story.

  6. Westboro Baptist Church comes to mind.

    This is a wedding to celebrate even more than the average wedding. Much good fortune to the newlyweds!!!

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