From a Yad L'Achim print advertisement
From a Yad L'Achim print advertisementIsrael News Photo: (file)

The Israel Broadcasting Authority has reversed an earlier decision and agreed to run a radio advertisement that offers assistance to Jewish women trapped in abusive marriages to non-Jewish husbands.

The 40-second spot, developed by the Yad L'Achim counter-missionary and anti-assimilation organization, was originally rejected for being "racist". However, after a lengthy exchange of letters with the Yad L'Achim legal counsel, the IBA sent a lengthy and detailed letter in which it agreed to air the ad. The spot is scheduled to run as of this week on local radio stations across the country.

The ad opens with the story of a woman whose "young, charming" non-Jewish husband turned out to be a violent abuser. "I was sure I'd never get out," the woman says, "until someone passed me the phone number of Yad L'Achim."

The broadcast continues, "If you are also in a mixed marriage, threatened, beaten, powerless and with no rights... Yad L'Achim will help you to escape and to rehabilitate yourself."

The radio broadcast is part of Yad L'Achim's efforts to combat what they call "assimilation" in Israel, which primarily takes the form of marriages between Jewish women and Arab men. In the cases Yad L'Achim handles, Jewish women who were swept off their feet by Arab suitors are shocked to discover that they have lost their individual rights as wives in their adopted Arab families. This discovery is sometimes accompanied by abuse within the home, as well as by other family members, focused on the woman's Jewish background.

Attorney Yoram Sheftel, representing Yad L'Achim, wrote in defense of the ad that assisting a Jewish woman in such circumstances "is a holy Jewish obligation." In his correspondence with the IBA, Sheftel also threatened to take the issue to court if the ad was not allowed to air within one week.

"My decision is that would be inappropriate, in this case, to issue a blanket rejection of this specific broadcast," wrote IBA Channel 2 Director Moshe Samira in a final, lengthy letter to Sheftel.

The chairman of Yad L'Achim, Rabbi Dov Lifschitz, expressed his view that the radio spots are likely to do more than combat assimilation. They will "provide critical assistance towards redeeming captives and saving lives," the rabbi said.