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Only the word of certain rabbis is trusted, and the list of acceptable rabbis is very short.
If either the bride or groom is considered not to be Jewish enough, the rabbis do not allow the wedding to take place.
Families with one Jewish parent are considered just as Jewish as they are non-Jewish.
Reform Jews, who account for a majority of American Jews, support this perspective, but are shut out of power in Israel.
Among the public statements issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week were repeated claims about the strength of the country’s economy and adamant insistence the international community acknowledge Israel’s status as a “Jewish state.” But, what stood out most was a statement made by one of Netanyahu’s aides denying the Prime Minister’s 23-year-old son Yair was dating a 25-year-old woman from Norway.
There is only one reason that, in 2014, Israel’s head of state would be required to respond to reports that his son is in a romantic relationship with another consenting adult: the woman in question is not Jewish.
What has changed throughout history, however, is the amount of power wielded by the self-appointed defenders of the Jewish genome.
They went on to author the Talmud (the Jewish New Testament), which has eclipsed the Old Testament’s authority.
This is less the case among Jewish communities outside Israel, where there are no legal restrictions on who Jews may marry.
In the United States, for example, about fifty percent of American Jews marry non-Jews.
In Israel, any Jewish person who dates a non-Jew is not only bucking serious social pressure to date within the community, but also heading toward direct collision with the state, which does not permit so-called mixed marriages.
Naturally, a person with as much money and power as Yair Netanyahu can easily circumvent the legal hurdles put in place to prevent miscegenation.