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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)

Anti-Semitism is evil. So is anti-Gentilism, to coin a phrase. Marzel's appeal for racial purity (what else would you call it?) is unconscionable.

Wow, RACISM amongst the Jews....who woulda thunk?

Oh this is priceless. How about we American's join him in his quest for purity by herding all the Jewish folk into 'Jewish only' locations so that they need not be contaminated by non-believers? Then pass laws to allow them to only marry Jews, shop only at 'Jewish owned' stores, and use 'Jewish only' water fountains and public toilets. One country tried that, it was Nazi Germany.

We'd be decried as anti-semite's and castigated worldwide. To see the insanity of his statements, let's do some word substitution:

"It is not by chance that you were born CATHOLIC. Your grandmother and her grandmother did not dream that one of their descendants would one day remove the family's future generations from the Catholic people. Assimilation has forever been one of the enemies of the Catholic people."

The oppressed has become the oppressor.

What does OBAMA say about this? I am sure he has a plan to improve this situation!

This is so....racist i cannot even begin.
if the shoe were on teh other foot - a letter calling on Leo not to marry her because she's Israeli, there would be protests in Hollywood.

Cross Israel off my list of places to visit.

I ma half mother married a non-jew...and glad she did or I might not be here...everyone has the right to marry who they is thicker than religion...I am ashamed to be jewish when i hear stuff like this...we need to start coming together more..not growing farther apart...Bar, marry who you is not Baruch Marzel who is going to wake up next to them in the morning!!!

yes, always a great idea to stick with your own kind no matter what other factors are at play. invest with ol' bernie, he's one of our own, we can trust him!

In Israel, ancestry matters. Absolutely. Totally.

Marriage between Jews and Gentiles may not be performed. What's the word for this?

The stupid thing is that under traditional Jewish law, the children of a Jewish woman are Jewish no matter the background of the father. This is much ado about nothing.

Jews wanting their daughters not to marry gentiles. This is news how?

What a bunch of bigots! Let her marry whomever she wants. Is Cosmo Kramer (Seinfeld) the head of Lehava?

You bet there would there be a storm if a German organization was asking German women not to marry Jews.

Racism is alive and apparently doing very well in the land of Israel. DiCaprio is lucky he is not an Arab though. Who knows what would these people done to him otherwise.

Leo goes from Giselle to this dog and her Heritage baggage? He needs to come to his senses.

I wonder if Leo were considering marrying a black woman rather than a Jewish woman if groups and individuals came out imploring her not to dilute the black race race if this would not be seen as profoundly bigoted.
Whomever Bar Refaeli chooses to marry is none of Baruch Marzel's damned business. Besides, it is biologically more healthy to diversify one's family tree, since genetically isolated groups are far more likely to show incidences of hereditary disease.

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