Shas Pulls 'What You're Not Jewish?' Ad Geared at Russian Immigrants

By Reuters

Published January 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Complaints by Russian-speaking immigrants prompted an ultra-Orthodox party in Israel to pull a TV commercial plugging their election campaign which shows a man recoiling in horror at discovering his bride is not Jewish.

In the advert, a Russian-accented bride receives a faxed certificate during her wedding ceremony attesting to her conversion to Judaism. With disgust in his voice, her Israeli husband blurts out: “What, you’re not Jewish?”

The controversy reflected long-standing tensions between the religious Shas party, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, whose core constituency is made up of Jews of Middle Eastern or North African descent, and parties representing immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

There are at least 2 million Russian-speaking immigrants in Israel and hundreds of thousands do not meet Orthodox standards for recognition as Jews.

Several immigrants complained about the commercial in letters to the Israel Central Elections Committee and many more posted protests on social media sites such.

Nino Abesadze, immigrant lawmaker and candidate for the centrist Labour party, denounced the Shas advert in a notice posted on her Facebook page as “racist and mocking of the immigrants”, and demanded it be taken off the air.

In a statement the committee said late on Wednesday it had found the advert offensive and that Shas had agreed not to run it anymore. The minute-long spot aired for two nights in the run-up to the Jan. 22 parliamentary election.

Parties championing Russian-speaking immigrants such as the far-right Yisrael Beitenu led by former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, want to simplify Jewish conversion procedures in Israel controlled by the Orthodox Rabbinate.

Shas opposes this, as it does calls for civil marriage in Israel. The Rabbinate, also in charge of marriage procedures, issues marriage licences only to couples it deems Jewish under ritual law.

(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Pravin Char)


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.