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Jewish ‘Fauda’ star sparks controversy over marriage to Muslim news anchor

"The pain of assimilation around the world is destroying the Jewish nation," said Interior Minister Arye Deri.
TV presenter Lucy Aharish and actor Tzachi Halevy were married Wednesday night at a small private ceremony near Hadera.

The wedding between the pair – Aharish, an Arab Muslim from Dimona and Halevy, a Jewish Duvdevan veteran from Petah Tikva – sparked a heated debate among many politicians over intermarriage in the country.Aharish currently works for Reshet 13, and has served in the past as an anchor for Channel 2 and for i24. In 2015, she was given the honor of lighting a torch at the national Independence Day ceremony.

Halevy is best known for his role as Naor in Fauda, and was also a finalist in the first season of The Voice. Most recently, he portrayed Muammar Gaddafi in the Netflix film The Angel.

Aharish and Halevy have reportedly been secretly together for four years, though their relationship was never made public. Though news of their wedding came as a shock to many, several news outlets indicated it was known by many gossip reporters who were asked to keep it a secret.

The pair wed in a private ceremony in Elik’s Ranch, southwest of Hadera. Couples of different religions cannot legally marry in Israel.

Politicians and other prominent citizens weighed in on the news of the wedding, and many slammed incendiary remarks by boorish Likud MK Oren Hazan.On Wednesday evening, Hazan tweeted that he did not blame Aharish “for seducing a Jewish soul to harm our country” – rather, he said she was “welcome to convert.” He did place blame on Halevy “for taking Fauda one step too far... end assimilation!”

On Thursday, Interior Minister Arye Deri said on Army Radio “this is their private matter, but I, as a Jew, if you ask me this question, I have to say that I’m against these things, because we have to preserve the Jewish nation the way we’ve preserved it for thousands of years. She can still convert.”

Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich offered her congratulations to the couple, and compared Hazan to Harry Potter Death Eaters who seek only pure blood among wizards.

Yoel Hasson, a Zionist Union lawmaker, said Hazan represents the “racist, dark, embarrassing faces that you can’t look at any more.”

Musician Idan Raichel, who is married to the non-Jewish Austria native Damaris Deubel, took to Facebook on Thursday: “Once someone very famous went on TV and said that it was a waste – that I chose to share my life with Damaris, that my daughters are not Jewish until and if they convert,” Raichel wrote. “And Damaris said something nice to me: ‘You know Idan, if I was famous, and if we lived in Austria, and someone on a TV show said it was a waste that I married a Jew, they would fire the presenter, the editor and everyone connected to it. But here in Israel, somehow people allow themselves [to say things like this].”

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