Women’s Place in Israel

Women’s Place in Israel

Long is the list of grievances. Some are militantly advanced by the small Israeli feminist community, others spoken more quietly by Israeli women unaffiliated with any movement. All told, they ramify in every direction of an extraordinarily diverse little society. Whoever would generalize should stop to recall that at last count the Israeli population was drawn from 102 countries. (The official number of nationalities in Soviet Russia is 104.) Nearly half a million Arabs, most of them Moslem and some Christian, live alongside a substantial Western and denominationally heterogeneous Christian community. The Jewish majority is almost perfectly bisected into those who derive from Islamic and those from European cultures, a balance tipping more and more toward the progenitive “Orientals.”

Family law is religious law. For its application, everyone, believer and nonbeliever alike, is classified as Moslem, Christian, or Jew. The Israeli government’s law of 1951 excludes matters of marriage and divorce from the secular sphere; these matters are decided by the religious courts.


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