Fascinating/depressing story on NPR about a group of Jewish "vigilantes" trying to stop interracial dating in Israel - and their shockingly inept approach:
There is, apparently, an epidemic of possible miscegenation at work: Jewish girls are dating Arab boys, and someone has to stop it. So, since there's apparently no shortage of available zealous busybodies who have nothing better to do after-hours, several troupes of vigilantes have formed amongst Jewish men who hope to "save" the young girls for themselves. With names like "Love of Youth" and "Fire for Judaism," they prowl those areas where teen couples are known to congregate and perform interventions with tactics not unlike those of abortion protesters, trying to save "problem cases" by administering lectures and disseminating CDs and literature on the dangers, presumably, of miscegenation.
The motivation seems to be both political and religious in nature, fueled as much by regional tensions as the traditional fear of losing Jews to intermarriage. "Their place is with the Jewish nation, not our enemies," says one of the organizers, who's obviously far more religious than any of the girls he's harassing.
Shockingly, turning this into an exciting forbidden Romeo and Juliet situation and casting Arab men as dangerous bad boys has not stopped the teens! For those of us who see this natural interaction as a healthy way of forging new understanding and connection, that's a good thing. For those whose intransigence has nothing to do with logic or apparently respect for personal decisions, boundaries and the law, well, probably not so much. When the short "West Bank Story" won an Oscar, it seemed light-hearted. The reality? Not so much.