The Israel Broadcast Authority (IBA) has agreed to run a Yad L'Achim radio ad warning of the dangers of intermarriage, after initially rejecting it on the grounds that it was "racist."
"In the end, I've decided that there is no room, in this instance, to categorically refuse to air the ad," IBA Channel 2 Director Moshe Samira wrote Yad L'Achim.
Before Pesach, Yad L'Achim tried to run advertisements on Channel 2's regional radio stations on the danger of intermarriage.
"Hi, my name is Osnat," begins the commercial. "Until a year ago I was married to a young, charming non-Jew who turned out to be violent. I was sure I'd never get out … until someone passed me the phone number of Yad L'Achim."
The ad concludes with a second voice giving the phone number of a 24-hour Yad L'Achim hotline that offers assistance to people who are caught up in such relationships.
After submitting the commercial, Yad L'Achim was informed that it had been rejected as racist. In response, Yad L'Achim's legal counsel, Yoram Sheftel, fired off a letter to the IBA, saying: "The refusal to air this ad on the grounds that it is racist is without basis and shows your complete ignorance of Judaism."
Sheftel went on to explain that "extending assistance to a Jewish girl who has married a non-Jew is a holy Jewish obligation. … Need I remind you that the state of Israel is defined by the Declaration of Independence and by two Basic Laws as a Jewish and democratic state."
In another letter, Sheftel adds: "I'm convinced that this public service message would be broadcast by any radio station in the western world and no one would dare to reject it."
Sheftel further warned that "if within seven days you don't agree to air the broadcast in question, my client will take legal action."
After additional sharp exchanges between the sides, Samira agreed that there was no reason to ban the broadcast. He set two minor conditions that had no impact on the meaning of the ads.
Yad L'Achim chairman Harav Shalom Dov Lipshitz said in response that "Yad L'Achim will continue to take every step to save Jews from intermarriage. These broadcasts, which reach the Jewish masses, are crucial in our efforts at pidyon shvuyim and saving souls."