beer sheva - Israel is going to take tough action against men who have several women in the country. Polygamy is strictly forbidden.
by Ralph Dekkers
Yet about 30 percent of Bedouin in the south of the country has more than one woman. Even two Arab MPs are openly married to two ladies. However, the government has decided to take a strong stance. Many Bedouin see that as an attack on their culture. Except for the female victims, for whom there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked in particular is working hard for the fight against polygamy. The right-wing politician visited the Negev earlier this year, where more than 250,000 Bedouin live, and had a local sheikh.
'You are a beautiful woman, a delicious dish. But a man can not always eat the same dish, no matter how delicious it is, 'said the sheik to her. 'The difference between me and your husband is that when he wants another dish, he secretly goes to a hotel room, while I openly and proudly go to the house of my second or third wife. So, Madam Minister, which of us has more respect for women? '
The conversation reflects the cultural gap that is difficult to bridge. Bedouins come with a laundry list of explanations why polygamy would be good. Likewise, Atieh al-Asam, head of a regional council. Squatting in a tent, in an illegally built village, he tries to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with polygamy while enjoying a cup of tea.
'According to Islam we can have a maximum of four women', according to the 46-year-old Al-Asam. 'In addition, we must ensure that the trunk is maintained. That is why we need a lot of children. '
And that is what Shaked wants to prevent. 'She is afraid of the demographic threat. But it is our culture. We are simply different from modern society. 'Still, he feels that Bedouin treat women with respect.
Advocate Insaf Abu Shareb thinks otherwise. According to her, religion plays an increasingly smaller role, but men want to caress several women just to caress their egos. She fights for the rights of women in polygamous marriages. 'They are deeply in trouble, both socially and financially. But they do not dare to stand up for themselves. '
Like the 46-year-old Khadra. She is married for 22 years, has 12 children, but she only sees her husband a few times a year. He spends his time with woman number two. 'I am depressed. The only thing I wanted was a good life for my children. But I have no money to maintain them because of his departure. I fear for their future. '
It is not usually the case that a man lives with two or more women. When he closes his second marriage, he simply abandons his first wife and children.