A prominent far-right Jewish activist has been forced to reexamine her beliefs after finding out her biological parents were Muslim, she acknowledged in an Israeli television report broadcast on Sunday.
Or Leibler, 22, has become a well-known figure among both Muslims and Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem.
She became increasingly involved with far-right groups in the capital following last year’s 11-day war between Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, Channel 13 news noted, attending protests organized by Lehava, a far-right and Jewish supremacist group that opposes the intermarriage of Jews and non-Jews, and openly sharing her extreme ideology influenced by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.
Despite living in southern Israel, she would make weekly commutes to one of Jerusalem’s most explosive areas, while walking around with an Israeli flag. Her activity has been described by some as a deliberate attempt to cause provocation, a claim she strongly denies.
“In this day and age, in the State of Israel, being Jewish is provocative,” she insisted.
Leibler regularly shared videos of her confronting Arabs near Damascus Gate, one of the main entrances to Jerusalem’s Old City, located south of the flashpoint neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
“Anyone who supports Palestine is a potential terrorist,” she said on one occasion. “I have a problem with Palestinians who don’t recognize the State of Israel… who don’t recognize me as a Jew who belongs here. I see them as murderers for all intents and purposes.”
In another video, she can be seen holding an Israeli flag, saying, “this flag represents love and peace,” while telling a nearby Arab activist waving a Palestinian flag that his flag “represents murder and Jew-hatred.”
“They’re after our blood, it’s that simple,” she has said.
And yet, the discovery she would soon make would be anything but simple for her.
Leibler was adopted when she was 30 days old, after her biological parents, reportedly drug addicts, struggled to support her.
“[Doctors] had to clean my body from drugs for about two or three weeks after I was born,” she said.
Her adoptive parents, a Jewish couple from northern Israel, provided Leibler with a new chance at life. Describing herself as a restless child, Leibler said she gave her parents a hard time growing up, “always looking for new ways of crossing the boundaries.”
אור לייבלר היא פעילת ארגון הימין הקיצוני להבה. היא נמצאת בכל מוקד חיכוך ומאמינה בדרכה. חייה השתנו כשהיא גילתה שהוריה מוסלמים. הערב במהדורה המרכזית – החלק הראשון בסיפורה של לייבלר. צפו@Yossi_eli pic.twitter.com/7Z2YMHWBwB
— חדשות 13 (@newsisrael13) February 20, 2022
While describing her adoptive parents as “supportive and loving,” she left home at the age of 18 and lost touch with them: “After I turned 18, I decided that their path was not the same as mine.”
At that point, Leibler’s relationship with Lehava intensified, as she gradually became an active member of the organization.
“I was always interested in videos posted by Lehava… it made me want to get up and do something,” she said, claiming the real purpose of the organization is to “fight assimilation.”
She decided to open her adoption file after giving birth to her son at the age of 20, during her mandatory military service.
“I wanted to know where I came from,” she told Channel 13.
Nothing could have prepared her for the next meeting she had with her social worker, who told her that her biological father was Muslim and her biological mother was born Jewish but had recently converted to Islam.
“At that moment, my whole world fell apart,” she said, realizing she was a 20-year-old, soon-to-be single mom, who was going through an identity crisis.
“Your identity is suddenly shattered,” she said. “What am I really?”
Leibler said she has never had anything against Muslims or Islam but describes her discovery as a challenging blow to her Jewish identity.
“I can’t describe what it feels like, how happy I am to be Jewish. It’s something that comes from within and makes me want to shout: ‘I am a proud Jew,'” she said. “It’s not easy… I used to stand in front of the mirror and tell myself, ‘I’m not Muslim, there’s no way I’m Muslim.’
“You’ve already formed your ideology, you already know which way you’re headed, left or right, and then it hits you — wait, but I don’t belong here.”
Leibler eventually decided to meet her biological parents, hoping to get some answers about her past, and perhaps her future.
However, the ideological differences between Leibler and her parents that had developed over the span of 20 years proved too hard to overcome.
Describing the encounter with her biological mother as cold, she said she couldn’t bring herself to feel like she belonged.
“It wasn’t the place I came from,” she said, describing walking into her biological mother’s home for the first time. “I felt unrelated to her,” she added.
She said she hugged her father “out of respect,” but said “there was nothing else there.”
אור לייבלר בחורה מחיפה לפני כמה שנים היא אהבה ערבים ואותי במיוחד, עכשיו הפכה להיות קיצונית ופרובוקטיבית.
מניפה דגל ישראל מול הירושלמים בבאב אל עאמוד. pic.twitter.com/IQvOSnMQA7
— سكلانص סקלאנס sklans (@shweki321) October 12, 2021
A while later, Leibler recalled receiving a message from a friend, telling her that her biological mother had posted a comment on one of her TikTok videos.
The comment, posted on a video showing Leibler confronting Arabs in Jerusalem, read: “This is my daughter, I’m ashamed of her.”
Leibler said the comment made her become even more entrenched in her extreme beliefs. “That’s when I took it to the next level, looking for confrontations,” she said.
However, as a young single mother two years later, Leibler said she wants to try and renew the relationship with her biological parents once again. Meeting and confronting them again, she said, would give her some closure.