Women as the Bearers of the Nation: Between Liberal and Ethnic Citizenship

DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP AND WAR, pp. 164-179, Yoav Peled, Noah Lewin-Epstein, Guy Mundlak and Jean Cohen, eds., Routledge, 2011

16 Pages Posted: 2 May 2011  

Gila Stopler

College of Law and Business - Ramat Gan Law School

Date Written: August 1, 2010

Abstract

The situation of women in Israel is a complex one. While in many respects women enjoy advanced liberal citizenship rights, in other respects, especially in the domain of personal status law, they suffer from serious restrictions on their rights and from discrimination. It is customary to attribute these flaws in women's citizenship rights in Israel to the political influence exercised by powerful religious political parties. However, I will suggest a different, more foundational, explanation, for this state of affairs; an explanation, which, despite its apparent plausibility, is, to a large extent, hidden from the public eye and seldom discussed. I will claim that these flaws in the generally liberal regime of women's citizenship rights in Israel are the result of two factors: First, the fact that the state of Israel, which defines itself as a Jewish and democratic state, is the home of two national communities – the Jewish community and the Palestinian Arab community; and second, the fact that the Jewish community is in a continuous conflict with the Arab world and perceives itself as being in the midst of a struggle for self determination and for continued existence. I will argue that from the perspective of the Jewish community the aforementioned facts create a foundational imperative that Israel maintain its character as a Jewish state through a preservation of a Jewish majority in Israel, an imperative which results in legal restrictions on the right to marry and on the right to have an abortion, both of which, as I will show, are strongly related to communal preservation

Keywords: Women, Rights, Citizenship, Discrimination, Ethnicity, Religion

Suggested Citation

Stopler, Gila, Women as the Bearers of the Nation: Between Liberal and Ethnic Citizenship (August 1, 2010). DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP AND WAR, pp. 164-179, Yoav Peled, Noah Lewin-Epstein, Guy Mundlak and Jean Cohen, eds., Routledge, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1827444

Gila Stopler (Contact Author)

College of Law and Business - Ramat Gan Law School ( email )

Ben Gurion 26
(p.o.b. 852 Bnei Brak)
Ramat Gan, 51108
Israel

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