Dangerous Liaisons: Arab-Jewish Romantic Relationships
This chapter provides background information on interfaith dating and marriage in Israel to contextualize the complications surrounding Darwish’s love affair with Rita. I look at the prevailing social attitudes toward this issue, the existing laws, and the statistics on both sides of the ethno-religious divide. Regarded as an act of treason by members of both Arab and Jewish societies, interfaith romance and marriage are discouraged and incur great hardships for couples who violate this taboo. The situation on the ground is mirrored in works of fiction by both Arab and Jewish authors in Israel, and I present many examples of novels and short stories that depict such relationships, almost all of which end in heartache, breakup, or death.