Religion & Beliefs
The New Inquisition: A Video Against Jewish Assimilation (UPDATED)
During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition used to "inspire" people to inform on individuals who were secretly Jewish. Today, the Israeli government – in partnership with the Jewish Agency – is getting people to inform on Jews who are not … Read More
During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition used to "inspire" people to inform on individuals who were secretly Jewish. Today, the Israeli government – in partnership with the Jewish Agency – is getting people to inform on Jews who are not Jewish enough.
In a video that harkens back to the [anachronistic] Zionist notion of shlilatha’galut, the Israeli government and Jewish Agency have called on Israelis to identify "lost children" – i.e. assimilated Jews living in the Diaspora. The purpose of the advert is to send these wayward Jews on a year-long identity strengthening stay in Israel, courtesy of Masa.
The ad asks its viewers "Do you know a young Jew in the Diaspora? Call the Masa project and together we will strengthen his ties to Israel so that he will not be lost to us.
Oy vey, I can already envision mygrandmother (Tata) calling.
You can read more on this topic, including a very funny imaginary phone conversation between MASA and grandmother Tata at Roi Word.
Update (September 8, 2009):
Masa’s North American director sent out the following email yesterday:
At its heart, MASA is a partnership between Israelis and Jews from around the world with a common purpose-strengthening the Jewish People by bringing young Jews to Israel. The main goal of a recently launched ad campaign in Israel was to try and engage an often apathetic Israeli population in MASA and involve them in the key goal of bringing larger numbers of young Jews from around the world on long-term Israel programs. The immediate and very strong reaction to this campaign has highlighted the critical need for all Jews, whether living in Israel or outside of Israel, to develop an ongoing dialogue and greater understanding around key areas of sensitivity for Jews in all communities.
While this campaign attempted to motivate the Israeli public to be more involved in this collective enterprise, the images that were chosen touched many raw nerves. Clearly, there was a disconnect around how some of the images and wording – designed to be provocative towards an Israeli public that for too long has been largely disconnected and disaffected from its responsibility towards its fellow Jews – would be received by many Jews outside of Israel. At the same time, there was some misinterpretation on the part of the Israeli press about the actual content of the ads, which also impacted this sense of misunderstanding.
The Jewish Agency and leadership of MASA have made an immediate decision to refocus MASA’s ad campaign in Israel by moving to its next phase, which will no longer include the contentious images that have appeared on Israeli television.
Israel can be a convener and connector for Jews everywhere and MASA intends to challenge Israelis to take an active role in building a stronger Jewish future by helping expose young Jews, ages 18-30, to the "real" Israel for a semester or a year. Through a wide variety of long-term Israel experiences, we can connect the next generation to our people, our Judaism, and our homeland, and realize our shared goals of creating a more vibrant Jewish future and a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community.
I look forward to continue partnering with you to advance our common agenda to bring more and more young adults to Israel in the coming new year.
Avi Rubel, North American Director, MASA
[via The Fundermentalist]