July 17, 2018

Netanyahu: Israel Won’t Allow Polygamy Under Any Circumstances

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel will not stand for polygamy under any circumstances, despite widespread disregard of the current law banning the practice and a ministerial committee recommendation to allow it in rare circumstances.

“I am not prepared to accept any polygamy in the State of Israel and this was my directive to the ministerial committee that is discussing the matter,” Netanyahu stated defiantly in a recent Tweet.

Polygamy was made illegal in 1977 but many communities in Israel still openly violate the law without any consequences–particularly in segments of Israel’s Bedouin population.

Typically, polygamists don’t officially marriage their multiple wives making it challenging for authorities to prosecute the offenders.

Even when marriages are officially formalized, Israeli police are reluctant to intervene, considering that the practice of polygamy is a deep-rooted religious and cultural tradition among Bedouin people.

The committee argued that in some extraordinary cases taking multiple wives should be acceptable. For example, for a man whose wife can’t produce offspring or whose wife has a serious illness.

There are over 6,000 Israeli men with more than one wife and almost one-fifth of Bedouin men are polygamous.

Polygamy is an offense that carries a five-year jail sentence and fine in Israel. While those who perform a marriage for a polygamous man can face up to six months in jail.

Read the full story here.

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