World Polygamy persists among Israel's Bedouins but women are pushing for change Israel's right-wing government is helping to crack down on the practice, though some critics question its real motives in doing so.
Federica Valabrega Oct. For the first three years of their marriage, they lived in northern Israel, far from their Bedouin community. Many Bedouin men have multiple wives, she told herself. Then, after five children and 18 years together, her husband uttered the words that she said destroyed her. He moved into a house next door with his year-old bride, leaving her alone with their children, including a son with cerebral palsy.
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She asked NBC News to use only her first name for fear of reprisals from her husband, who still lives next door. Mona Al-Habnen sets-up for morning prayers in her mother's house in the Bedouin city of Rahat in the Negev desert on July Even a Bedouin member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, has two wives. No Bedouin woman has ever held a political position in Israel, not even on the local level, though the combined Arab political parties have the third-largest party representation in the Knesset.
Bedouin village councils are run exclusively by men, many of whom are polygamous.
Though Bedouin women can legally drive, attend university, vote and work, they are often pressured by their families not to do anything more than what their husbands expect: stay home, cook, clean and raise children. Bedouin men who marry multiple wives only register one marriage with Israeli authorities, making the likee difficult to track.
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Muslim marriages are carried out by Sharia courts, and multiple marriages by one man are rarely reported to authorities. Thus many married Bedouin women are legally considered single. Dozens of members of the Women of the Wall group, who are seeking equal prayer rights, had to be escorted away by police. Protesters, dp of them women, responded to calls from ultra-Orthodox rabbis to disrupt the group's 30th anniversary service, media reports say.
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A of people were reportedly injured in the incident. The Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City - a relic of the Biblical Temple compound - currently has separate sections where men and women are allowed to pray. Likf of the protesting girls told Haaretz newspaper they had been bussed in by their religious schools in an attempt to block the group from accessing the Western Wall. In a amedican, the Women of the Wall said two of its members had to get medical treatment after the incident.
The group was later escorted to another area of the wall that allows non-traditional mixed-gender prayers to take place. Police said they had arrested one man for attempting to assault a police officer.
Under pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties, the Israeli authorities in froze plans to upgrade the separate mixed-gender prayer area on the southern side of the wall. Correction 12 March This article originally stated that the Israeli authorities had scrapped plans israepi create a mixed-gender prayer area at the Western Wall. ❶Related Topics.
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Many Bedouin men have multiple wives, she told herself. World Polygamy persists among Israel's Bedouins but women are pushing mdn change Israel's right-wing government is helping to crack down on the practice, though some critics question its real motives in doing so. It has been amended to make clear that these plans, which were frozen, related to the upgrade of an existing mixed-gender prayer area.
Leading the way is Insaf Abu-Shareb, an outspoken feminist who defies the stereotypes of what a feminist is and what a Bedouin woman americaj be.
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Over 10 percent of Bedouin families are single-parent households. In over a decade of pro-bono work as an attorney, she found a common thread: Nearly every woman who sought her help was in a polygamous marriage. Thus many married Smerican women are legally considered single. She dropped her candidacy following threats from Bedouin men, including family members.
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