Israeli rabbis have approved the practice of polygamy

Israeli rabbis have approved the practice of polygamy to counter what they believe is a demographic threat posed by Arab populations living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

An expose by Channel 10, an Israeli broadcasting channel, revealed the practice was approved by the rabbinate that has actively encouraged and facilitated polygamy, claiming the practice will give Jews an edge in the demographic race against Arabs in Israel.

One rabbi who has been married for 26 years is filmed by an undercover reporter persuading a single woman to become his second wife.

“If your parents ask you why you don’t marry like everyone else,” he told her, “tell them that it is a mitzvah [religious commandment] and I want to do a mitzvah.”

The rabbi showed the reporter a letter signed by Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar permitting him to marry a second wife.

Read: Israeli rabbis launch war on Christmas tree

Reporting on the story, The Times of Israel commented that “although Jewish law forbids a woman to marry more than one husband, a practice known as polyandry, it does permit a man to marry more than one wife.”

“There are several instances of polygamy in the Bible, including two of the three patriarchs (Abraham and Jacob) and many of the kings. Jewish law gives guidelines as to the circumstances under which polygamy is permitted,” The Times of Israel explained.

The Israeli newspaper also claimed that there are cases outside of Israel, primarily within Sephardic communities, where a husband who refuses to divorce his wife is granted permission to remarry by a rabbi. This leaves the first wife as an aguna, or chained woman, who is forbidden by Jewish law from remarrying.

A spokesperson for a pro-Jewish demographic domination group, The Complete Jewish Home, told Channel 10: “We are dealing with men and women who are responsible, and this is a solution to the problem of having more single women than men seeking marriage. It also ensures the Jewish demographic majority in the country, and guarantees the right of religious women to become mothers.”

Though polygamy has been illegal in Israel since 1977, authorities largely turn a blind eye to the practice.

Read: ‘Return to the Mount’ activists seek destruction of Al-Aqsa



Hate and hospitality, here and in the Muslim world

Hate and hospitality, here and in the Muslim world By Special to The Enterprise From page B4 | July 05, 2017 By Robb Davis Three vignettes: One: A dying village on the edge of the Sahara. We arrive late in the day to assess the nutritional status of children. The village well is drying up. They will have to leave soon. They offer us tea. The village is devoid of animals … except for one chicken. They ask “Do you eat chicken?” We say “No … please. We do not eat chicken.” They slaughter the bird — the last. We eat with our heads hung low: honored guests feeling the burden of that honor. Two: A street outside the airport in Islamabad. My U.N. flight diverted from Peshawar on my way out of Mazar Esharif; I’m ill from the effects of the harsh winter on the steppes leading to Uzbekistan. I am lost, with no idea how to get “home.” He approaches and offers help. He takes my hand, hails a taxi, ushers me in, rides with me chatting about the city. Miles across town — a place I could not have found — he places me on a bus. Pays the taxi and the bus fare, and tells the bus driver where to drop me in Peshawar. We hug in parting and never meet again. Three: A Masjid in Davis. Children play outside in the Ramadan night. A car approaches, and tosses sheets of a torn-up Quran at their feet. His/her face is not known. The car is not identified. The children rush to tell their parents and they shake their heads in sad wonder at the purpose of such an act. Two points: One: I learned of hospitality in places deep within the “Muslim world.” I could multiply these vignettes by dozens and they would only scratch the surface of how my life was altered as I learned that hospitality is not merely a cup of tea or a meal shared, but rather the opening of one’s heart to the stranger. I can never be the same for having experienced that kind of hospitality. My only hope is that I can offer the same. Two: A hate incident is the opposite of hospitality. It is the closing of a heart. It is saying: “You are not welcome here. Your kind has no place here.” When it occurs, we see those at whom it is directed made to feel unwelcome. We see them doubt their place among us. We see them shrink back into the shadows. One vignette: We sit behind the masjid after prayers as Ramadan comes to an end. We share a simple meal. We come together to challenge the hate by acts of mutual hospitality. I say “You are welcome here” (such a small gesture). They serve me food. We are human together. My interlocutors are from Kazakhstan, the Kurdish region of Iraq, Morocco, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Lebanon, Pakistan and the United States. There is no rush. There are many smiles. And as the cool evening flows through us I wonder whether we can all agree to counter the hate via the day-to-day opening of our hearts; with the quotidian sharing of ourselves; with the dispensing of the kind of hospitality I was blessed to receive over all those years in all those places. — Robb Davis is mayor of Davis. He worked in the field of public health for more than 25 years, addressing issues such as food security, child nutrition and maternal and child health around the world.