Gaza Effect: Jew-Muslim Marriage In Israel Stokes Tension

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A Chinese bridal couple kiss as they pose in front of the Neuschwanstein castle after their symbolic wedding in Fuessen, in this May 31, 2012 file picture.
A Chinese bridal couple kiss as they pose in front of the Neuschwanstein castle after their symbolic wedding in Fuessen, on May 31, 2012

The rumblings of Gaza war had its echo within Israel when a Jewish woman married a Muslim Arab, drawing strong protests.

Reuters reported that the wedding held in Tel Aviv drew the protests of more than 200 far-right wing activists, who shouted "death to the Arabs," reflecting the anguish and tensions that stoked the Gaza war.

However, the protesters were chased away by the Israeli police, who formed human chains to stop the protesters from gushing into the wedding hall at Rishon Lezion. The police later arrested four protesters.

The couple, Maral Malka, 23, and Mahmoud Mansour, 26, belong to the Jaffa locality in Tel Aviv and had sought a court order to bar any protest.

Bride Converts to Islam

The right wing protesters, wearing black shirts, denounced Malka for converting to Islam before the wedding. They called her a traitor and shouted epithets of abuse, including "death to the Arabs." The protesters also made many curses in a song that said your village is burnt.

But the groom took the protests in his stride and told Israel's Channel 2 TV that no protests did derail the wedding or going to dampen its spirit. He said, "We will dance till sunrise and be merry to enjoy the coexistence."

Rightist Reaction

The rightist group Lehava, which organised the anti-wedding demonstration, has a record of harassing Jewish-Arab couples on grounds of intermarriage. But this is the first time they are taking the protests to the site of a wedding.

The spokesman of Lehava, Michael Ben-Ari, a former lawmaker, denounced the trend of Jews intermarrying with non-Jews. He dubbed it worse than what "Hitler did," in an apparent reference to the massacre of Jews during the last World War.

President Frowns Protests

Meanwhile, the couple drew the support from left-wing Israelis who organised a counter-protest by holding flowers and balloons. The placard they held, read "Love conquers all."

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin flayed the protestors in a message posted on his Facebook page. He noted that such protests will undermine the basics of co-existence. This country is both Jewish and democratic, he noted.

The bride's father, Yoram Malka, told Israeli television that he was very hurt and called the wedding "a sad event." The father was also angry at the conversion of his daughter to Islam.

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