Daily Israel Report

Lehava 'Hotline' to Help Prevent Intermarriage, Assimilation

A new “hotline” will enable Israelis to alert activists of the Lehava organization on situations that could lead to intermarriage.
By David Lev
First Publish: 9/9/2013, 4:14 PM

Bentzi Gopstein
Bentzi Gopstein
Hezky Ezra

A new “hotline” operated by the Lehava organization will alert volunteers of situations where Jewish girls are in relationships with non-Jews. The activists will take “action” - chiefly in the form of prayers to G-d that He help the often hapless girls to extricate themselves from the relationship.

Lehava, an organization that works to prevent assimilation and intermarriage among Israelis, was formed several years ago in response to reports that Jewish girls who had entered into relationships with non-Jews – mostly Arabs – were intimidated into staying in those relationships, and often ended up being abused. Beatings are common in many of these relationships, said Bentzi Gopstein, director of Lehava, and his group works to help encourage girls and their families to break off these relationship before it is too late.

“There are thousands of cases in which Jewish girls are in relationships with non-Jews,” and those relationships often end in tragedy for the girls, who find themselves stuck in situations where they are beaten, both verbally and physically.

Lehava is one of the few organizations dealing with assimilation inside Israel, Gopstein told Arutz Sheva.

“Israel invests millions in fighting assimilation abroad, but has totally failed in fighting assimilation at home,” he said. “They close their eyes and ignore reality. Unfortunately I believe we are headed for a real tragedy.”

Although the organization already has more cases than it can handle, Gopstein believes that the week of Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement, commemorated this Saturday – is the right time to raise consciousness among Israelis on the issue.

“At this time all those responsible for this situation, as well as those who would like to improve things, are involved in a personal accounting of their behavior,” Gopstein said. “We will use any tools at our disposal to save Jewish girls,” he added.