Dr. Aliza Lavie, a communications researcher, lecturer at Bar Ilan University and social activist, spoke out on Sunday against the intermarriage of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The 28-year-old Jewish founder of the popular social network married longtime non-Jewish girlfriend Priscilla Chan on Saturday.
“The children of another successful Jewish man will not be counted as Jews,” Lavie wrote on her Facebook page. “This wedding does not bother many American Jews, and quite a few Israelis as well. This is integration at its best. But this is not the whole picture. The stories of intermarriage and assimilation are not only a ‘religious’ problem.”
She added, “It's much more than that. Large sections of the younger generation of American Jews are no longer with us. Treating mixed marriages only as a religious matter which does not interest those who are non-religious misses the reality that threatens us all, religious and secular alike.”
The European Centre for Jewish Students (ECJS) recently raised alarm over the results of research showing a rise in the rate of intermarriage among European students. The study found that there has been a rise of 17% in the rate of intermarriage in Europe.
At the same time, a recent poll of Israelis 18-22 years of age showed that 81% of them were opposed to intermarriage. The poll of a representative group of 500 Israelis showed clearly that it is young people chiefly who are opposed to intermarriage, said anti-missionary group Yad L'achim.
The organization said that it was important to allow speakers into public schools to discourage intermarriage, in order to help save the 19% who do not oppose the idea. “Let speakers present their ideas in order to minimize intermarriage as much as possible,” the organization said.
Intermarriage has also been a concern in Israel, particularly with younger girls who are enticed by neighboring Arabs and in some cases end up running off with them and leaving their families. The Lehava anti-assimilation organization is one group which tries to fight this phenomenon.