Jewish-Arab TV star marriage in Israel draws hard-liners’ ire

A billboard in Tel Aviv promoting the hit Netflix series ‘Fauda’ with Israeli actor Tzachi Halevi. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2018
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Jewish-Arab TV star marriage in Israel draws hard-liners’ ire

  • Israeli Arab Lucy Aharish, 37, married actor Tzachi Halevi, 47, on Wednesday
  • Halevi plays the role of Israeli undercover agent Naor in Fauda, the gritty Netflix drama that explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

JERUSALEM: An Israeli cabinet minister and a hard-line lawmaker on Thursday attacked the marriage of an Arab TV presenter and a Jewish actor from the hit Netflix series “Fauda.”
But their reactions were slapped down online by others praising the mixed marriage, which had initially been kept secret — reportedly to avoid provoking hostility.
Israeli Arab Lucy Aharish, 37, married actor Tzachi Halevi, 47, on Wednesday.
Aharish, born in the southern Israeli town of Dimona to Muslim parents, speaks flawless Hebrew and was the first Arab to anchor a Hebrew-language program on Israeli television.
She currently hosts a morning current affairs show on Israeli commercial TV channel Reshet.
Halevi plays the role of Israeli undercover agent Naor in “Fauda,” the gritty Netflix drama that explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hawkish MP Oren Hazen said in a Twitter post that such marriages dilute the Jewish gene pool and that Aharish should convert to Judaism.
“I don’t blame Lucy Aharish, who seduced a Jewish soul with the aim of harming our country and preventing another Jewish generation from continuing the Jewish dynasty,” Hazan wrote in Hebrew.
“On the contrary, she is invited to convert to Judaism.”
In Judaism, only the children of a Jewish mother or those who choose to convert according to ultra-Orthodox rules are recognized as Jewish.
“It’s not the right thing to do,” Interior Minister Arye Deri, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, said of the marriage.
“I’m against such things because we have to preserve the Jewish people,” he told Israeli army radio.
Members of the Israeli left were supportive of the union, as were others on social media.
“Congratulations and happiness to this wonderful couple,” Labour MP Shelly Yachimovich tweeted.
“Lucy Aharish understands better what it means to be Jewish than he who sends a nauseating, racist Twitter message,” wrote Stav Shafir, another Labour legislator.
According to her Hebrew-language Facebook site, Aharish was “schooled in a Jewish environment and celebrated Jewish holidays as well as Muslim festivals.”
She is a graduate of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.
Halevi previously played an agent of the Israeli Shin Bet internal security service in the Israeli film “Bethlehem,” which also deals with the conflict.
“Fauda” has aired two seasons.


Woman punches bear, gets help from dog to survive attack

Updated 15 December 2018
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Woman punches bear, gets help from dog to survive attack

  • The attack occurred in a rural area outside Muncy, Pennsylvania, roughly 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia
  • The attack began when she went outside with her dog around 6 p.m.

PENNSYLVANIA: A woman survived a mauling by a bear by repeatedly punching the animal and crawling into a bush as her Chihuahua-mix distracted the attacker.
Melinda LeBarron has broken bones, cuts and bruises and multiple bites after the attack outside her home in rural Pennsylvania on Wednesday evening, her son said. She remained hospitalized in critical condition Friday.
Her dog — fittingly named Bear — was also bitten several times and has a broken sternum and separated ribs.
“I’ll just put it this way — she’s very, very lucky to be alive,” said her son, Trent LeBarron, who described her as a tough person. “She was punching the bear and everything. Her right hand’s all swollen up from punching the bear.”
The attack began when she went outside with her dog around 6 p.m. When Bear the dog barked, Melinda LeBarron, a 51-year-old food prepper at a steakhouse restaurant, looked around to see what had startled the canine.
“The next thing she knew, she was on the ground getting slammed around,” said her son.
The black bear dragged Melinda about 80 yards (70 meters) through her yard, across a road, and into a thicket, while the dog tried to intervene, biting the black bear several times. Some of her clothes were ripped off in the process.
The attack left a trail of blood that relatives later followed.
“As she said in her own words, the bear wouldn’t show her no mercy at all,” Trent LeBarron said. “It wouldn’t stop.”
Eventually Melinda LeBarron went limp, and the bear took an interest in the dog, giving her a chance to climb into a small bush. She then threw a stick to distract the bear and finally made her way home to call a relative for help.
Bear the dog somehow got back into the home and was found whimpering beneath a bed.
“She’s stable now,” Trent LeBarron said. “She’s doing good, she’s actually doing very good. She has a long ways to go and a lot of lot of surgeries coming up.”
Before Melinda LeBarron was able to speak, she wrote on a pad to ask how her dog was doing.
“We asked her if Bear saved her life,” Trent LeBarron said. She nodded her head yes “so fast it was unreal.”
The attack occurred in a rural area outside Muncy, Pennsylvania, roughly 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia.
Wildlife officials told WNEP-TV they are trying to track the bear. Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau said his agency believes it is a sow with cubs and the attack occurred after the dog ran toward the bears.
Mike Levan, Melinda LeBarron’s neighbor and landlord, whose wife called 911, said a bear sow and four cubs were seen in the neighborhood all summer.