Yad L'achim's founder, Rabbi Shlomo Dov Lifschitz, is quoted on the site saying: "People must understand that Jewish-Arab marriages are part of the larger Israeli-Arab conflict.
They [Arab men] see it as their goal to marry them [Jewish women] and ensure that their childen aren't raised as Jews. They feel that if they can't defeat us in war, they can wipe us out this way." The degree of general opposition in Israel to interracial marriage was suggested by a government-backed television ad campaign earlier this month that urged Israeli Jews to inform on relatives abroad who were in danger of marrying a non-Jew.
The ads were hastily withdrawn by surprised Israeli officials after many US Jews took offence.
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Even in the handful of "mixed cities", Arab residents are usually confined to separate neighborhoods.
In addition, civil marriage is banned in Israel, meaning that in the small number of cases where Jews and Arabs want to wed, they can do so only by leaving the country for a ceremony abroad. Yuval Yonay, a sociologist at Haifa University, said the number of interracial marriages was "too small to be studied." "Separation between Jews and Arabs is so ingrained in Israeli society, it is surprising that anyone manages to escape these central controls." The team in Petah Tikva, a Jewish city of 200,000 residents, was created in direct response to news that two Jewish girls, aged 17 and 19, were accompanying a group of young Arab men when they allegedly beat a Jewish man, Leonard Karp, to death last month on a Tel Aviv beach. The girls' involvement with the Arab youths has revived general concern that a once-firm taboo against interracial dating is beginning to erode among some young people.
One member, who identified himself as Moshe to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, said: "Our goal is to be in contact with these girls and try to explain to them the dangers of what they're getting themselves into.
In the last 10 years, 60 girls from Pisgat Zeev have gone into [Palestinian] villages [in the West Bank].
In a related development, the Israeli media reported this month that residents of Pisgat Zeev, a large Jewish settlement in the midst of Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, had formed a vigilante-style patrol to stop Arab men from mixing with local Jewish girls.
Hostility to intimate relationships developing across Israel's ethnic divide is shared by many Israeli Jews, who regard such behaviour as a threat to the state's Jewishness.
The girls were shown a video titled Sleeping with the Enemy, which describes mixed couples as an "unnatural phenomenon." Haim Shalom, head of the municipality's welfare department, is filmed saying: "The girls, in their innocence, go with the exploitative Arab." A police representative also warns that the Bedouin men's "goal is to take advantage of the girls.
There is no element of love or an innocent friendly relationship here." In 2004, posters sprang up all over the northern town of Safed warning Jewish women that dating Arab men would lead to "beatings, hard drugs, prostitution and crime." Safed's chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, told a local newspaper that the "seducing" of Jewish girls was "another form of war" by Arab men.
Motti Zaft, the deputy mayor, told the Ynet website that the municipality was also cracking down on city homeowners who illegally subdivide apartments to rent them cheaply to single Arab men looking for work in the Tel Aviv area.
He estimated that several hundred Arab men had moved into the city as a result.
One of the few polls on the subject, in 2007, found that more than half of Israeli Jews believed intermarriage should be equated with "national treason." Since the state's founding in 1948, analysts have noted, a series of legal and administrative measures have been taken by Israel to limit the possibilities of close links developing between Jewish and Arab citizens, the latter comprising a fifth of the population.