Arab father to Lehava: Save my daughter from her Jewish suitor

Anti-assimilation group receives urgent request from Arab man hoping to prevent his daughter from marrying a Jew.

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David Rosenberg, | updated: 08:24

Bentzi Gopshtain
Bentzi Gopshtain
Eliran Aharon

Lehava founder and anti-assimilation activist Bentzi Gopshtain is frequently contacted by concerned parents looking to prevent intermarriage in their families.

Recently, however, Gopshtain received a rather unusual request from a father in Jerusalem, desperate to prevent his daughter from marrying out of the faith.

Unlike most of the appeals Lehava receives, which concern Jewish women dating Arab men, in this case the call for help came from an Arab father whose daughter was being courted by a Jewish man.

The father in question called Gopshtain, desperately imploring him to help in keeping his child from marrying out of Islam.

In a phone conversation with Gopshtain, the man explained that he had in the past rendered assistance to Israeli security forces. In return, and for their safety, he and his family had been relocated from Judea and Samaria to Jerusalem. His children attended Israeli schools and his daughter even enlisted in the IDF.

As she enlisted, however, the father discovered that his daughter had become involved romantically with a Jewish man.

“That I am not prepared to accept,” the man told Gopshtain. “As an Arab [Muslim], I will not accept that my daughter will date a Jew. I want to preserve our honor and on our national identity.”

At the man’s request, Gopshtain looked into the matter and contacted the young man in question, who agreed to meet with Gopshtain in Tel Aviv.

After explaining the long-term issues involved with such a relationship, says Gopshtain, eventually the young man broke up with his Arab girlfriend.

“This case disproves the claim that Lehava is a racist organization,” said Gopshtain. “We do everything we can to fight any case of assimilation. It’s sad that Arabs understand what many Jews do not, and thus refuse to support our work against assimilation. Assimilation threatens our people. Preventing it, through a preservation of the Jewish flame [of identity], is what preserved the Jewish people throughout the exile.”

But not everyone accepted Gopshtain’s claims.

Amir Hetsroni, a former professor at Ariel University and a noted left-wing pundit who gained notoriety in 2015 for his attacks on Sephardic voters following the Likud victory in May of that year, is one.

Hetsroni, who himself is in a relationship with an Arab woman, Shirin Noufi, wrote that his live-in girlfriend believed Gopshtain had made the entire tale up.

“Shirin thinks you’re making up stories,” wrote Hetsroni on Facebook. “I haven’t checked it out, but she and I will continue to promote assimilation.”

In September, Hetsroni met with Gopshtain in the latter’s hometown of Hevron for a tour of the city. Not one to miss an opportunity to combat assimilation, Gopshtain urged Hetsroni to break up with Noufi.