Former Finance Minister and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid excoriated critics who condemned the recent wedding of an Israeli Arab journalist to an Israeli Jewish actor, calling the timing of the criticism ‘abominable’.
Last week, 37-yearold Israeli Arab news anchor Lucy Aharish married actor Tzahi Halevi.
The high-profile wedding drew criticism from lawmakers, including Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), and MK Oren Hazan (Likud), who chastised media outlets for their positive portrayal of intermarriage.
This is why we're all working to preserve the Jewish People,” said Deri. “The pain of assimilation around the world that consumes the Jewish people... In New York after the Holocaust there were 6 million Jews; by now we should have reached 30, but today there are fewer.”
"I'd tell Lucy that I have no doubt she doesn't intend to harm the State of Israel. They're a couple in love who got married, but it's not right. You'll have children, and they'll have a problem in the State of Israel because of their status. If she likes Judaism, there's a conversion process," he added.
MK Hazan said the media coverage of the wedding ‘legitimized’ mixed marriages in Israel.
“I wanted to express my shock,” said Hazan, “I’m not prepared to let mixed marriages between Arabs and Jews become a legitimate thing.”
But Yesh Atid chariman Yair Lapid slammed the criticism of the Aharish-Halevi wedding, telling Army Radio Sunday that while he was concerned with intermarriage and assimilation, it did not justify the recent string of negative attacks.
“I have a problem with mixed marriages,” said Lapid, “we still haven’t recovered from the Holocaust. There are still fewer Jews in the world than there were before the Holocaust, and there is something correct about the idea that we need to grow. I’d prefer to have the Jewish people grow rather than shrink.”
However, continued Lapid, “What an abomination it is for someone who, let’s say, doesn’t like this [Aharish-Halevi] wedding – can’t you wait a week? You have to insult them on the happiest day for these two young people who are in love? What good does that do? We’ve forgotten how to act like human beings.”