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ISRAEL: Nationalist group urges model Bar Refaeli to marry Jewish, dump Leo DiCaprio

Rumored wedding bells for Bar Refaeli and Leonardo DiCaprio may ring true or false, but these are already being muffled by controversy. 

Israel-bar-refaeli-getty Supermodel Bar Refaeli is one of Israel's most successful "exports." But with fame comes responsibility -- and now an Israeli organization is beseeching Refaeli not to wed Leonardo DiCaprio -- out of a responsibility to future generations.

"It is not by chance that you were born Jewish," wrote Baruch Marzel in a letter he sent Refaeli through her mother (and that  promptly appeared in the press). "Your grandmother and her grandmother did not dream that one of their descendants would one day remove the family's future generations from the Jewish people. Assimilation has forever been one of the enemies of the Jewish people."

Marzel, a well-known stalwart among Israel's ultra-nationalists, appealed to Refaeli on behalf of an organization named "Lehava." In Hebrew, this means "flame:; it is also the Hebrew acronym for "Preventing Assimilation in the Holy Land."

The organization, according to its Facebook page (in Hebrew) provides assistance to Jewish girls in relationships with non-Jews, especially Arabs. There are other organizations in Israel that specialize in extricating Jewish women from marriages and other relationships with Arabs. Last month, Yad L'achim held an event for 100 women "rescued from Arab villages."

DiCaprio is not Arab, of course.  But for those concerned with the cultural implications of assimilation, it's not what Leo is but what he isn't -- Jewish. 

This isn't personal, wrote Marzel, who was careful to open his letter stressing that he "has nothing against Mr. DiCaprio, who I have no doubt is a talented actor." Still, he implores Refaeli: "Come to your senses, look forward and back too -- and not only the present. Don't marry Leonardo DiCaprio, don't harm  the future generations."

Four years ago, Marzel sent a similar letter to Israeli beauty queen Linor Abergil, asking her not to marry non-Jewish Lithuanian NBA player Sarunas Jasikevicius (Sharas, as he was called in Israel) and thus divorce the Jewish people. They did marry -- and later divorced.

-- Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem

Photo: Model Bar Refaeli arrives at the 2010 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter, held at Sunset Tower on March 7, 2010, in West Hollywood. Credit: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images
Comments () | Archives (74)

"Judaism ... possibly the oldest religion in the world, that introduced ... the commandment to love one's fellowman as oneself."

Tell that to the Palestinians.

The great tragedy is not the racism here. The great tragedy lies in the hidden truth. Leo is being used by the Refeali family to spread cultural influence. Her father has deep ties to things I do not wish to mention. The irony is Leo was sought out by the family for a year prior. For someone who doesn't trust people's intentions, Leo sure has his head in the clouds. Things are not what they seem. This girl is bad bad news.

>nothing against Mr. DiCaprio, who I have no doubt is a talented actor.

As if being a good actor makes him a good marriage canditate. I guess it could be worse the Jewish people -- he could be a gentile and a ham.

Arrogant and racist, period.

Why does a gentile feel discriminated if a Jew urges another Jew to marry within the faith? This has nothing to do with bigotry, racism, etc. Most of the views I read below are from the outside looking in, that is, of gentiles judging Mr.Marzel without truly understanding his motivation (if I may speak on his behalf). After centuries upon centuries of mass murders and persecution: the Shoah (holocaust), pogroms (in Europe, Russia, and Muslim countries), the Spanish inquisition, etc., there are only a few million Jews left in the world -- a miracle indeed. So if DiCaprio and Refaeli marry, our fear is that their children will drift away from Judaism, and thus diminish further our numbers -- possibly the oldest religion in the world, that introduced monotheism, and, yes, the commandment to love one's fellowman as oneself.

DiCaprio's mother was born in Germany. That's probably the REAL reason this guy doesn't like him.

Come on. This is no worse than blacks only marrying blacks, whites only marry whites, asians/asians, etc. The guy has a right to his opinion, just as she has the right to ignore his opinion and marry anyone she wants.

First, it's none of their business who this lady marries. Second, their opinion about marrying within the faith is bigotry, plain and simple. Jews, more than most groups, ought to know what it's like to be the victims of bigotry. Of course, given the way these same groups have treated Palestinians for years suggests that they are morally bankrupt, so I wouldn't listen to them anyhow.

This sounds just like KKK rhetoric. Keep the race pure!

It's 2010 we have 6+ billion people. learn to accept or live with hate

Why does this shock people so??? Racism will always be a reality.

What's amazing here is not the racism masked by the notion of "preserving" a religion through marriage (one can covert to Judaism--at least in the reform and conservative sects, so the point of Mr. Marzel is irrelevant), it is the fact that line of thinking is predicated on the existence of God. I'm not so naive as to think that all human strife would end if we humans gave up on the God charade; however, rational thinking could promote a more rational approach to the problems we face today. Just a thought.

Marzel might be old fashioned, but what he said is not racist. He didn't say "don't marry and African or an Asian". The Jews are not a "race". The Jews are a "people". Maybe "tribe" is a better word. Jews come in all colors!

The Jewish People as a whole are highly concerned about continuity and survival. Sometimes we are downright paranoid about it...and it's not surprising. Thousands of years of persecution, the holocaust, etc. I think there are only 12 million Jews in the whole world. Many believe that intermarriage will cause future generations to be lost to Judaism. This is the traditional stance of the older generation.

So it's not about "mixin' the races creates half-breeds" or anything crazy like that. That would be racist.

By the way, there is an argument to be made that intermarriage can actually help to ensure the survival of the Jewish People if the children from these unions are raised as Jews. If one Jew marries another Jew and they have 2 kids, each Jew has replaced himself/herself. If those same two Jews marry non-Jews and have 2 kids each, that's 4 Jews replacing 2 Jews (or 6 if the spouses convert, too).

This is indeed scary. Think back to the reverse situation, when in 1935 the Nazis announced the Nürnberger Gesetze or Nuremberg Laws, which defined a Mischling or mixed blood marriage. The Nazis prohibited marriages between Jews and Germans. It seems that history is repeating itself. I thought that we had put Holocaust thinking behind us. Maybe not.

Whom Bar Refaeli marries or doesn't marry is no one's business but her own. Besides, maybe Leo would consider converting to Judaism. Many people do that for those whom they love. At the end of the day it is LOVE, not politics that matters!

Damn Leo getting screwed like Palestine

Arguing for ethnic purity with a blue-eyed, blond haired Jew! Marzel just wants her for himself!

Jeez you people are ignorant .. Jews aren't a race so therefore it isn't racism .. if they were upset because a white jew was marrying a black jew than you can complain.

And oh yeah .. I'm sure catholics or muslims never tell their children to only marry within the faith .. hypocrites!!

It's time for Jews to put an end to racism masquerading as religion.

Doesn't surprise me in the least.

This is a potent reminder that there are two sides to every story. With cultural attitudes like this it is no wonder Israel has failed to make peace with its neighbors.

This is a shocking and blatantly bigoted stance for anyone to take -- particularly from one considered to be a "stalwart" among Jews in Israel. I hope someone of prominence within the Hollywood Jewish community comes out to publicly denounce Mr. Marzel's statements. This guy is no better than those of the Aryan Brotherhood. Despicable.

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