Israeli ads implore Jews to not marry Americans

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AFP Photo / BAZ RATNER)
Thinking about tying the knot with your Jewish-American boyfriend or girlfriend? Don’t let Netanyahu in on it.

The Israel government is sponsoring ads in the US warning young Jews here against marrying Americans and begging them to bid the States adieu.

The Israel government has given the go-ahead to an ad campaign in the United States that, through a series of billboards and online video clips, is urging Jews to come back to Israel and cut ties with Americans, lest they want to be stripped of their identity and insult their religion. Steven I. Weiss of the Jewish Channel recently broke the story and believes that Israel government-comped campaign cost the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption office a price of around $1 million.

In one video clip, Dafna, an Israeli girl, is observing Israel’s memorial day while her clueless boyfriend, Josh, becomes perplexed and confused. “They will always remain Israelis,” voices a narrator in Hebrew. “Their partners won’t always understand what this means.”

In another, an American Jewish couple lets their daughter participate in a webcam chat with her grandparents overseas, who conduct the conference from their end before an illuminate menorah. When the elder couple quizzes the tyke on the candelabra, the child says it is a Christmas decoration, which prompts grandma and grandpa to look at each other in disgust and shame, but not before the girl’s parents are shown horrified by their own offspring’s naivety of faith.

That’s right: living in America will kill your heritage.

“I don't think I have ever seen a demonstration of Israeli contempt for American Jews as obvious as these ads,” Jeffrey Goldberg writes in recent piece published in The Atlantic. “The idea, communicated in these ads, that America is no place for a proper Jew, and that a Jew who is concerned about the Jewish future should live in Israel, is archaic, and also chutzpadik.”

“The message is: Dear American Jews, thank you for lobbying for American defense aid (and what a great show you put on at the AIPAC convention every year!) but, please, stay away from our sons and daughters,” adds Goldberg.

Goldberg isn’t the only one that sees the problem with the project.

“The worst part about this campaign is that it points to something deeply defective in the Israeli psyche: the notion that fear is the only motivating factor that anyone can come up with for selling the country,” Gal Beckerman writes in The Jewish Daily Forward. “In this case it’s fear of assimilation, of oblivion, of erasure. It betrays a terrible insecurity.”

“I understand the Zionist demographic necessity of actually living in Israel, but if there were ever a chance that someone like me and my family would move there, this is not the approach to take,” she adds.

For Netanyahu and company, however, it looks as though they have their fingers crossed. Billboards with similar messages have reportedly already sprung up in Palo Alto, California, New York City, Boston, Massachusetts and Hollywood, Florida, just in time for a mass Hanukkah exodus!