Legal Rules and Cultural Bias: When are Intimate Partnerships with a Foreigner Considered 'Insincere' by Israeli Authorities?
THE DARTMOUTH LAW JOURNAL VOL. XVII:1, Spring 2019
27 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 9, 2019
The article examines cases in which alleged spousal relationships, involving at least one non-Israeli, were labelled “insincere,” and therefore undeserving of legal recognition and protection, by Israeli administrative and judicial authorities. It argues that, in some cases, what led to such findings was the wrongful imposition of local cultural norms in assessing information the alleged spouses stipulated in their application and interviews – even though at least one spouse came from a different culture. The sociology of migration was also sometimes ignored in such decisions. Three examples of cultural diversity issues which Israeli officials overlooked are discussed: (non-)separation of assets between partners; perception of time and the demarcation of events by date; and methods of coping with personal predicaments (turning to witchcraft). The article concludes by recommending that state bureaucrats and judges become more sensitive to and cognizant of the diversity of cultural norms and the sociology of migration when evaluating the authenticity of a putative spousal relationship, in which at least one spouse comes from a different culture. Otherwise, sincere relationships might be erroneously labeled fictitious and genuine partners unduly split apart.
Keywords: immigration, spousal relationship, familial financial administration, witchcraft
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