A minister and a Likud lawmaker on Thursday criticized popular Israeli Arab news anchor Lucy Aharish and Jewish actor Tsahi Halevi, star of international TV hit “Fauda,” for getting married in an interfaith wedding a day earlier.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri told Army Radio the celebrity union was “not the right thing to do,” saying that “assimilation is consuming the Jewish people.”
Deri said that with a Muslim mother and Jewish father, the couple’s children would face “serious problems” in Israel, and urged Aharish to convert to Judaism.
“If her soul longs for Judaism, there is a conversion process,” he said.
Likud MK Oren Hazan also slammed the couple’s interfaith wedding, and called for an end to Jewish assimilation.
In a tweet, Hazan said: “I’m not accusing Lucy Aharish of seducing a Jewish soul in order to hurt our nation and prevent more Jewish offspring from continuing the Jewish line. On the contrary, she’s welcome to convert.”
— ידיעות אחרונות (@YediotAhronot) October 10, 2018
He also accused the “Fauda” star of becoming “Islamicized,” and said Halevi had taken his role in the political thriller too far. “Lucy, it’s nothing personal, but know that Tzahi is my brother and the people of Israel are my people. Enough with assimilation!”
Deri and Hazan’s remarks drew quickly criticism from fellow lawmakers and social media users.
Zionist Union MK Yoel Hasson tweeted that Hazan’s remarks revealed the “dark, racist and embarrassing face” of the ruling Likud party. Fellow party member Shelly Yachimovich compared the attitude to that of the Harry Potter series’ “death eater” villains who want only “pure bloods” in their midst.
Kulanu’s Meirav Ben Ari slammed the lawmaker’s criticisms as “disgusting” and encouraged the couple to “only remember the blessings” from their wedding day.
Aharish, 37, is Israel’s first Arab presenter on prime-time television (currently on Reshet 13). In 2015, she was awarded the honor of lighting a torch at the national Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl for her work as a “trailblazing Muslim journalist.”
Halevi, 43, is a singer and actor from Petah Tikva best known for his work on hit Israeli political-thriller show “Fauda.” This year, Halevi is playing late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in the Netflix movie “The Angel.”
According to reports, Aharish and Halevi have been in a relationship for years, but had kept it under wraps until their civil wedding Wednesday night. The location of the beachfront event was also kept secret to avoid drawing protesters from Muslim and Jewish extremist groups, Hadashot news reported.