Israel Police May Probe Group Warning Arab Men Not to Date Jewish Women

The Lehava anti-assimilation group recently distributed flyers warning Arabs not to approach Jewish women; 'We don't want you to get hurt,' flyer read.

Police are examining the possibility of opening a criminal investigation into a group distributing flyers warning Arab males they could get hurt if they go to downtown Jerusalem or to the capital's Malcha Mall to pick up Jewish women.

"Just like you would do anything to prevent a Jew from dating your sister, so too would we," reads the flyer being distributed by the Lehava group, a Hebrew acronym for "For Preventing Assimilation in the Holy Land."

The flyer ties in the threats with the nearly fatal group beating of an Arab teenager in downtown Jerusalem earlier this month. Dozens of Jewish teens are thought to have been involved in beating the victim, who had to be resuscitated by an emergency medical crew, as well as three others who escaped the August 17 assault with slight injuries.

Police have asked the Justice Ministry for guidelines to determine whether they should investigate allegations that Lehava is inciting Jerusalemites to racism by distributing the flyers in the capital, in both Hebrew and Arabic.

"If you're thinking of going to the pedestrian mall or the Jerusalem mall in order to go out with Jewish girls, this isn't the place," the flyer states. "You can walk around your village and find girlfriends there. Not by us! Last week an Arab who thought he'd find some Jewish girls got hurt. We don't want you to get hurt."

The tone of the flyer is reminiscent of the messages sent by the far-right Kach movement, which used to call for punishing Arab men who were friendly to Jewish girls.

Lehava, on its website, is also asking Israelis to call a hotline to report any incidents in which a Jewish girl is in contact with, or thinking of being in contact with, "minorities."

"We ask you to open your eyes and be our emissaries wherever you are," the group's site says.

Lehava says its goal is "to save girls from the nation of Israel who were enticed into being in contact with a non-Jew." The group portrays inter-ethnic dating as a widespread trend in Israel, saying Jewish girls "from secular, [non-Haredi] religious and ultra-Orthodox families," as well as at-risk girls and those "in normative homes," have been found cavorting with non-Jewish men, including Arab men and foreign laborers.

Emil Salman