Israeli 'Lost Jews' Ad Sparks Outrage

Portrays those assimilated outside Israel as missing
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 9, 2009 12:23 PM CDT

(Newser) – An Israeli outreach group has dumped an ad campaign that sparked controversy by portraying assimilated Diaspora Jews as “lost,” the Jerusalem Post reports. Prominent American Jewish voices slammed the campaign, which many took as a slight to intermarried Jews. An intermarried Israeli critic called it “racist,” pointing out that his children would be deemed “lost” even after serving in Israel’s army.

The North American director of Masa, the group behind the campaign—which included a video composed of headshots of young people pasted on fliers that read "Missing" and "Lost" in English, Russian, and Spanish— cited “misinterpretation,” acknowledging that it “touched many raw nerves.” The campaign shows the ignorance of many Israelis “about the wealth of Jewish life lived abroad,” and “also shows that the brains behind the video have never been to Hebrew school or a Jewish youth organization meeting in the United States,” writes Benjamin L. Hartman in Haaretz.