Netanyahu blasts committee for justifying polygamy among Bedouin

The prime minister slammed a Justice Ministry committee for recommending that polygamy be allowed in some cases among the Bedouin. 

By: World Israel News Staff 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the conclusions of a Justice Ministry committee for recommending that polygamy be allowed in Israel’s Muslim community in certain cases.

“I refuse to tolerate polygamy in the State of Israel not matter the circumstances,” Netanyahu tweeted Monday afternoon.

“And I made this very clear to a ministerial committee that has looked into this matter.”

Netanyahu said that polygamy undermines a woman’s standing in society, facilitates her exploitation and disrupts the demographic balance by encouraging the importing of women who are not citizens of Israel.

“This is an unacceptable custom. While we strengthen the Bedouin community, we must also be more resolved to enforce the law.”

The Justice Ministry’s Inter-Ministerial Committee Report on Polygamy released its findings and recommendations last week.

The report found that polygamy is particularly discriminatory against the first wife and her children after a second wife is taken. Often, it represents a de facto divorce of the first wife without any of the protections afforded a woman who goes through divorce proceedings in a court of law, including financial support.

The report also found that polygamy, particularly among Bedouin in the south, is the result of a lack of law enforcement and proper governance.

Perhaps one of the most controversial recommendations of the report, however, was the suggestion that under certain circumstances, when a married woman is sick, a Muslim man should be allowed to take another wife.

It was this recommendation that Netanyahu was criticizing on his Twitter account.

The right-wing NGO Regavim criticized the committee for not providing operative ways of improving enforcement of the law that prohibits polygamy outright in the State of Israel.