Rivlin & Gal-On Unite on Human Rights Issue

Rivlin & Gal-On Unite on Human Rights Issue

Reuven Rivlin
Zehava Gal-On

Marrying in Israel is a religious matter. Still, people often go to Cyprus or elsewhere for civil weddings, and return with marriages that are fully valid in Israel. But an intermarriage cannot be performed in Israel unless one party converts to the religion of the other. When an Israeli-Jewish woman converted recently to marry an Israeli-Muslim man, their union became controversial, drawing the protests of a group called the “Organization for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land” or Lehava. The wedding party hired 14 security guards and hundreds of police further secured them after Lehava was enjoined by a court order in the Rishon Lezion regional court to demonstrate no closer than 200 meters.

The Facebook comments of both Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Meretz head Zehava Gal-On are illuminating. Ms. Gal-On responded sharply as well as brilliantly (more on that later). First, Pres. Rivlin wished the couple well, declaring: 

There is a red line between freedom of speech and protest on the one hand and incitement on the other. Mahmoud and Morel from Jaffa have decided to marry and to exercise their freedom in a democratic country. The manifestations of incitement against them are infuriating and distressing, whatever my opinion or anyone else’s might be regarding the issue itself. 

Not everyone has to share in the happiness of Mahmoud and Morel — but everyone has to respect them. Among us and within our midst there are harsh and sharp disagreements, but incitement, violence and racism have no place in Israeli society. 

Our thanks to blogger Guy Frenkel for his translation of Gal-On’s Facebook post of Aug. 19:

The Deputy Minister of Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Eli Ben-Dahan explained on TV yesterday that “experience shows that women who end up marrying Muslim men return home bruised and battered”. He also said that mixed marriage was a “silent Holocaust”, no less.

I understand the immediate necessity to find a pail to vomit in, but before we do that, let’s look at the numbers. Unsurprisingly, they don’t match up with Ben-Dahan’s statements. Based on records from the Interior Ministry, there were 16 mixed marriages registered in 2012. The number of battered women reported during that year? Over 200,000. And for the sake of proportionality, during that same year, 19 women were murdered by their partner. In not one of those cases was the couple of mixed marriage.

So here are some statistics for Eli Ben-Dahan: if you’re a Jewish woman, there is a 99.99% chance that whoever beats you will be a Jewish man. And there is a 100% chance that if a relative kills you, it will also be a Jewish man. And what are the odds that the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs of the State of Israel will stop looking under your covers and focus on dealing with the real causes of domestic abuse? Zero.

By | 2014-08-27T11:54:00-04:00 August 27th, 2014|Blog|2 Comments


  1. Anonymous August 27, 2014 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Dear All,

    While the tone of these quoted comments is fine, I do not think it is appropriate to use the word “controversial” in your title. Fundamental human rights should not be described as “controversial” by those who support them. Your title sounds like US media reporting on the “two sides”in a “controversy.”



  2. Anonymous August 29, 2014 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    For those many Partners’ readers (ok, so maybe there are not many readers) who may think that my comment looks nonsensical, that is only because the editors of this blog then changed the title of this post without acknowledging that they did so, following upon and in line with my comment above.

    You can see that the original title of this post labeled the issue “controversial”if you look at the name embedded within the link for this post: http://blog.partners4israel.org/2014/08/riviln-gal-on-support-controversial.html



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