Discrimination Against Jewish Women in Halacha (Jewish Law) and in Israel
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, December 2016
23 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 2, 2016
Democracy is supposed to allow individuals the opportunity to follow their conception of the good without coercion. Generally speaking, Israel gives precedence to Judaism over liberalism. This article argues that the reverse should be the case. In Section I it is explained what the Halachic grounds for discrimination against women are. Section II concerns the Israeli legal framework and the role of the family courts. Section III considers Israeli egalitarian legislation and groundbreaking Supreme Court precedents designed to promote gender equality. Section IV analyses inegalitarian manifestations of Orthodox Judaism in Israeli society today, especially discriminatory practices in matters of personal status. It is argued that Judaism needs to adopt gender equality because of Israel’s commitment to human rights. Israeli leaders should strive to close the unfortunate gap between the valuable aims and affirmations voiced in the 1948 Declaration of Independence and the reality of unequal political and social rights for women.
Keywords: discrimination, equality, gender, Halacha, Israel, Jewish law, religion, rights, women
JEL Classification: Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation