Arab-Jewish celebrities' marriage sparks controversy


Lucy Aharish

Lucy Aharish .
(photo credit: screenshot)

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Interior Minister Arye Deri weighed in on the wedding of Arab-Israeli TV news anchor Lucy Aharish and Jewish-Israeli actor Tzachi Halevy, which has sparked a public controversy over mixed marriages, in an interview on Army Radio Thursday morning.

"I want to say to Lucy that I have no doubt that she is not trying to harm the Jewish nation," Deri said. "They are a couple who love each other and wish to be wed, but this is not the right thing to do. Your children will have problems regarding their status. If Lucy is interested in Judaism, then she should convert."

"The pain of assimilation around the world is destroying the Jewish nation," Deri added. "The number of Jews in the world have vastly diminished due to assimilation."

The two well-known Israeli celebrities wed on Wednesday in a private ceremony. The couple has been together for four years but kept their relationship secret. News of the wedding sparked a public controversy over their union and mixed marriages in Israel.

" I don’t blame Lucy Aharish for seducing a Jewish soul," Likud MK Oren Hazan wrote in a Twitter post. "She didn’t have the goal of harming our nation and preventing future Jewish children who will continue the Jewish heritage. On the contrary, she is welcome to convert. I do blame Tzachi for this."

"Lucy, this is not personal! But Tzachi is my brother and the Jewish nation is my nation," Hazan wrote. "Stop assimilation!"

"The brave and good-hearted Lucy Aharish understands what it is to be a Jew more than the one who posted the racist and disgusting tweet that I am forced to share here," Zionist Union MK Stav Shaffir responded to Hazan. "I hope that everyone can see who we’re dealing with here and the awful people that Netanyahu brought in. Mazal Tov to Lucy and Tzachi. You should only feel love and support and the freedom to be who you are."

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Yesh Atid MK Meir Cohen, a former teacher of Aharish, congratulated her saying, "Lucy, my dear student, congratulations and I wish you happiness. In the end, love wins. Keep doing what you’ve always known to do best, go with your heart. A thousand kisses from the whole family."

Aharish currently works for Reshet 13, and has served in the past as an anchor for Channel 2 and for i24. In 2015, she was given the honor of lighting a torch at the national Independence Day ceremony, the only Israeli-Arab to do so that year.

Halevy, a Jewish native of Petah Tikva, is best known for his role as Naor in Fauda, and was also a finalist in the first season of Israel’s The Voice. Most recently, he portrayed Muammar Gaddaffi in the Netflix film The Angel.

The pair wed in a ceremony in northern Israel. Couples of different religions cannot legally marry in Israel.

Amy Spiro contributed to this report.

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