Thursday, December 1, 2011

Israeli government doesn't want Israelis getting too cozy with American Jews

A recently launched ad campaign by the Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption aims to keep Israelis from getting "Americanized." Some of the campaign videos and billboards that have been spotted in California, New York and Florida not-so-subtly suggest to Israelis to avoid marrying American Jews and raising American children, and to come back to Israel.

The campaign, reported to cost $1 million, features videos like the one below, showing a young family on video chat with grandparents in Israel. Behind the elderly couple is a menorah. They ask their granddaughter, in Hebrew, what holiday it is, and she excitedly answers "Christmas!"

At the end, the video tells viewers,"they will always stay Israeli. Their children will not. Help them return to Israel."

Another video shows an Israeli woman whose American boyfriend mistakes a memorial candle on remembrance day for a romantic gesture.

For expat Israelis, ,the ads hit a soft spot, making them feel guilty and fearful for leaving the Holy Land. For Jewish North Americans, they can be seen as an insult. While Jews have long been taught to avoid intermarriage, narrowing the marriage pool even among Jews creates new divisions, suggesting that American Jews are not "Jewish enough."

What's your take on the controversial ads?

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