September 11, 2009

“Lost” Jews ad pulled from Israeli TV

by Sara Levy

A controversial advert that said Jews who marry outside the faith are “lost” or “dead” has been pulled from Israeli television.

The Hebrew language adverts, co-sponsored by the Israeli government, feature sombre music accompanied by a video of railway tracks reminiscent of the tracks leading to the concentration camps where millions of Jewish people were killed during World War Two.

Posters in English, French, and Russian are then shown of young people with Jewish sounding names.

The word “lost” is stamped across the posters.

“More than 50 per cent of Jewish youths abroad assimilate and become lost,” a voiceover says.

Viewers of the advert are encouraged to call in and report the names and contact details of Jewish young people abroad who could be “saved” by being brought to Israel.

The adverts have enraged liberal Jews in Israel, who claim the adverts show little understanding of how Jewish people live in Western countries.

“It’s telling Israelis that Jews in the diaspora are second-class Jews,” said rabbi Gilad Kariv, director of the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism.

“It uses harsh visual means that provoke some very bad associations.

“This is an entirely negative campaign,”

Gershom Gorenberg, Israeli historian, added: “I don’t think who a Jewish student in Boston is dating is the business of the prime minister of Israel.”

He added that the advert is “one of the most spectacularly knuckle-headed in modern Jewish history”.

Despite the controversy, the advert’s organisers said thousands of people have called in to the campaign asking for relatives abroad to be contacted.

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