Photo Credit: Matanya Tausig flash 90
The 5,829 Bedouin women listed as eligible for single mother benefits in the Negev, raising 23,855 children, are actually silent polygamous wives.

The entire story of polygamy in the Negev is very puzzling, since polygamy is against the law in Israel. Therefore the question immediately arises: why does the state not enforce this law on the Bedouins, and why does it finance polygamy among them by granting children’s benefits and income supplements? The answer is clear: the state understands that the issue is a cultural matter related to the Bedouin sector so it prefers to pay them, using resources that would have been available to other sectors, just to keep the Bedouins quiet, so they will not demonstrate and not block the roads.

Another matter connected to marriage is unions between relatives. Most couples in the Negev are relatives, and the result is that many children suffer from genetic diseases, some of which are severe and life-threatening. The high rate of infant mortality within the Bedouin sector stems in part from this reason. The state must allocate many resources to care for the children who suffer from genetic defects. Marriage between relatives is also a cultural matter related to tribal conventions.

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Another cultural matter related to Bedouins is the matter of honor killing and blood feuds. In this matter as well, the state prefers to close an eye and not see the serious transgressions that are committed within the Bedouin sector, whether because of the difficulty in investigating them – no Bedouin would testify against another Bedouin – or because of the leniency with which the law enforcement agencies (police, state’s attorney, courts, prisons and the mechanism of pardons) relate to these acts of murder. The researcher Manar Hasan exposed this leniency in an important and painful article that was published in the book “Sex, Gender and Politics”, edited by D. Yizraeli.

Additional problematic matters with the Bedouin sector that have come to light in recent years are the culture of “protection money” in building sites and industrial areas, for example: Emek Sarah in Beersheba, and smuggling of drugs, guns, women and foreign workers from Sinai and Jordan.

All of these matters – illegal building on state lands, polygamy, marriage among relatives, murder, blood feuds, protection and smuggling – which are connected to the Bedouin sector, prove that rather than being a case of a few isolated incidents, the problem is that the Bedouin culture sees the law of the state as law that is not part of the Bedouin culture. In this, the Bedouins in Israel are no different from the Bedouins throughout the Arab world, who live parallel and separate lives from the rest of the state, and within another legal system – “customs and tradition” – which is based on the sense of “we are here and the state is there”. The group gives them power, because the state – for reasons of convenience – does not deal with each separate Bedouin, but with a consolidated and violent tribe that would not hesitate to take to violence if it feels that its interests are endangered.

Tribal culture is the basis for all of the problems that are connected with the Bedouins, not only in Israel but in the entire Middle East: in Libya, in Iraq, in Yemen, in Syria, in Algeria, in Egypt (Sinai) and in many other places, tribes struggle with the state in order to maintain their culture, their laws, their customs and their traditions, that are usually contrary to the laws of the state and its regulations. The tribe has its own leadership and its own legal system and in many matters it conducts itself as an entity that is independent and separate from the state. Among the Bedouins, the state is considered a hostile entity since it aims to enforce its laws on the tribe.

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48 COMMENTS

  1. Either Minnesota or Massachusetts has a welfare system set up to fund Islam men with more than one wife. The state pays for the single mother with children of these men because they can only register one wife. No one works and they live off the state. That state has phone set up press 3 for Arabic.

  2. Either Minnesota or Massachusetts has a welfare system set up to fund Islam men with more than one wife. The state pays for the single mother with children of these men because they can only register one wife. No one works and they live off the state. That state has phone set up press 3 for Arabic.

  3. If a man cannot provide for his children, he should not have children. If he cannot take care of one wife and her children, he is a fool to marry another. And why doesn’t Islamic law forbid Muslims from taking welfare from Jews? They are allowed to take Jewish heads, but I heard nothing about taking Jewish charity. Funny how they operate.

  4. If a man cannot provide for his children, he should not have children. If he cannot take care of one wife and her children, he is a fool to marry another. And why doesn't Islamic law forbid Muslims from taking welfare from Jews? They are allowed to take Jewish heads, but I heard nothing about taking Jewish charity. Funny how they operate.

  5. There are plenty of men out there who have children they cannot provide for, even with one wife. I don’t see the point of discriminating just because it is polygamous, if it was one man with 16 kids by one woman would that make it somehow more palatable? Since you cannot regulate how many children any woman has and the State chooses to pay benefits for the children it is unreasonable to discriminate, Either take the money away from all types of families or leave them alone. Social engineering doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

  6. ermmm, doesn’t ALL welfare systems allow single mothers to get welfare and if the 3 button is in Arabic doesn’t it follow that number 1 is English and 2 is Espanol? Or is it only Islamic polygamy that exists in the USA now (maybe I am imagining all the Mormon English speaking polygamists)?

  7. There are plenty of men out there who have children they cannot provide for, even with one wife. I don't see the point of discriminating just because it is polygamous, if it was one man with 16 kids by one woman would that make it somehow more palatable? Since you cannot regulate how many children any woman has and the State chooses to pay benefits for the children it is unreasonable to discriminate, Either take the money away from all types of families or leave them alone. Social engineering doesn't get anyone anywhere.

  8. ermmm, doesn't ALL welfare systems allow single mothers to get welfare and if the 3 button is in Arabic doesn't it follow that number 1 is English and 2 is Espanol? Or is it only Islamic polygamy that exists in the USA now (maybe I am imagining all the Mormon English speaking polygamists)?

  9. There’s a difference between a man who has difficulty finding the employment to raise a family and a man who has as many wives as possible and knows that he doesn’t have to find employment because the state will raise the children. The burden of raising children has fallen on the woman for too long. If a man is not willing to be the main bread-winner for his family, he should be sterilized. In an arid region where food production isn’t the greatest, allowing people to have limitless children which are supported solely by the government is a major disaster waiting to happen. In the US, where food production is high, we allow this behavior where a guy will have a dozen children between several women, but eventually, the population will outstrip production (and it could happen next year if the right events take place), leading to social unrest and cannibalism. And this problem will be much worse in Israel when the population grows exponentially while food production doesn’t match the growth. If you’re man enough to produce a child, you should be man enough to provide for them. The problem is, in both the middle east and America, we think being a man is the same as being a sperm-donor. We are sadly mistaken.

  10. The problem is that if you pay people to do something, they will continue to do it. That is, if you pay for children you encourage more children to be produced. If the govt bureaucrats feel guilty that some children live in poverty, then take money from those who work and redistribute it to those who are in poverty, then they wonder why the incentives are perverse — people encouraged to have more children to get more benefits and people who work discouraged from higher productivity because taxation is higher to pay for somebody else’s children. If polygamy is bad, then paying for the children through state aid perversely encourages polygamy. Not a good solution for this tribal issue.

  11. Roasted Locust Polygamy equals cannibalism….how hysterical can you get? The birthrate is so low in many places that we can’t afford to take care of the old, I am hardly to worry about a small population with a high birthrate unless of could there is another reason for your hysteria?

  12. The State of Israel must take away the Israeli citizenship of the Arabs and of all other non-Jews, because the State of Israel is a Jewish state, so that only Jews can be citizens in Israel. This is not racism, because any person, of any race or ethnicity, can convert to Judaism.
    The State of Israel must expel the Arabs from its territory, because it is written in the Torah, in Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:52, that God commanded Israel to expel the other inhabitants of the Land of Canaan, which is the Land of Israel, which includes all the Palestine. The Arabs invaded the Land of Israel in the year 635 CE, so that they are invaders, and must leave Israel, and return to their own land, which is Arabia. This is not racism, because any person, of any race or ethnicity, can convert to Judaism.

  13. There's a difference between a man who has difficulty finding the employment to raise a family and a man who has as many wives as possible and knows that he doesn't have to find employment because the state will raise the children. The burden of raising children has fallen on the woman for too long. If a man is not willing to be the main bread-winner for his family, he should be sterilized. In an arid region where food production isn't the greatest, allowing people to have limitless children which are supported solely by the government is a major disaster waiting to happen. In the US, where food production is high, we allow this behavior where a guy will have a dozen children between several women, but eventually, the population will outstrip production (and it could happen next year if the right events take place), leading to social unrest and cannibalism. And this problem will be much worse in Israel when the population grows exponentially while food production doesn't match the growth. If you're man enough to produce a child, you should be man enough to provide for them. The problem is, in both the middle east and America, we think being a man is the same as being a sperm-donor. We are sadly mistaken.

  14. The problem is that if you pay people to do something, they will continue to do it. That is, if you pay for children you encourage more children to be produced. If the govt bureaucrats feel guilty that some children live in poverty, then take money from those who work and redistribute it to those who are in poverty, then they wonder why the incentives are perverse — people encouraged to have more children to get more benefits and people who work discouraged from higher productivity because taxation is higher to pay for somebody else's children. If polygamy is bad, then paying for the children through state aid perversely encourages polygamy. Not a good solution for this tribal issue.

  15. Roasted Locust Polygamy equals cannibalism….how hysterical can you get? The birthrate is so low in many places that we can't afford to take care of the old, I am hardly to worry about a small population with a high birthrate unless of could there is another reason for your hysteria?

  16. The State of Israel must take away the Israeli citizenship of the Arabs and of all other non-Jews, because the State of Israel is a Jewish state, so that only Jews can be citizens in Israel. This is not racism, because any person, of any race or ethnicity, can convert to Judaism.
    The State of Israel must expel the Arabs from its territory, because it is written in the Torah, in Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:52, that God commanded Israel to expel the other inhabitants of the Land of Canaan, which is the Land of Israel, which includes all the Palestine. The Arabs invaded the Land of Israel in the year 635 CE, so that they are invaders, and must leave Israel, and return to their own land, which is Arabia. This is not racism, because any person, of any race or ethnicity, can convert to Judaism.

  17. Natasha Aiken, don’t lie. You don’t want to answer the questions because you can’t answer them. Governments and taxpayers are not an infinite source of wealth. You can keep raising taxes, but eventually, doing so weakens the economy. A weak economy leads to a weak society. Nobody’s saying to let these children starve. We’re just saying that people should make informed decisions about how many children they have and fathers who produce those children should provide for those children. You’re acting like that’s an insane request. The craziness in the room is the person who’s acting like resources are unlimited, that fathers shouldn’t have to take care of their children, and polygamy is a good thing. I’ll dust off my Accounting 101 book and teach you a few basics that the folks in Washington haven’t even learned yet.

  18. Natasha Aiken, don't lie. You don't want to answer the questions because you can't answer them. Governments and taxpayers are not an infinite source of wealth. You can keep raising taxes, but eventually, doing so weakens the economy. A weak economy leads to a weak society. Nobody's saying to let these children starve. We're just saying that people should make informed decisions about how many children they have and fathers who produce those children should provide for those children. You're acting like that's an insane request. The craziness in the room is the person who's acting like resources are unlimited, that fathers shouldn't have to take care of their children, and polygamy is a good thing. I'll dust off my Accounting 101 book and teach you a few basics that the folks in Washington haven't even learned yet.

  19. Roasted Locust So you send me a huge paragraph full of strawmen and insist I answer them or I am a liar? How about you ask a proper question instead of expecting me to defend myself against claims I never actually made? Getting insulting and calling me a liar first off will not get you any answer you seek and won’t get you the attention you desire, it is not big nor clever and no, I did not bother to read anything after the first line. Well done you!!!!

  20. Roasted Locust So you send me a huge paragraph full of strawmen and insist I answer them or I am a liar? How about you ask a proper question instead of expecting me to defend myself against claims I never actually made? Getting insulting and calling me a liar first off will not get you any answer you seek and won't get you the attention you desire, it is not big nor clever and no, I did not bother to read anything after the first line. Well done you!!!!

  21. Natasha Aiken, the Other wives of Islamic men are NOT single women. BUT because the USofA doesn’t recognize more than ONE wife, the Islamic men are able to register OTHER wives as single mothers and the state then pays for that wife and children rendering it NOT NECESSARY for the rest of the family to search for employment. The Mormon religion does not practice polygamy anymore.

  22. Dixie Vangelisti I am referring to Mormon Fundamentalist Polygamists Dixie, of whom there are an estimated 30k in the USA…all English speaking and often accused of just the same practises wrt welfare fraud, my question is where is your indignation about them?

  23. Natasha Aiken, the Other wives of Islamic men are NOT single women. BUT because the USofA doesn't recognize more than ONE wife, the Islamic men are able to register OTHER wives as single mothers and the state then pays for that wife and children rendering it NOT NECESSARY for the rest of the family to search for employment. The Mormon religion does not practice polygamy anymore.

  24. Dixie Vangelisti I am referring to Mormon Fundamentalist Polygamists Dixie, of whom there are an estimated 30k in the USA…all English speaking and often accused of just the same practises wrt welfare fraud, my question is where is your indignation about them?

  25. Natasha Aiken, just because a white man does it, doesn’t mean it’s right. Why should any modern government support any tradition that allows men to turn their own daughters into slaves? These Mormons you talk of have been known to sell girls as young as 13 to the highest bidders, and the same thing is happening in Israel, at the expense of the tax-payers there. Why do you feel any state should support a culture that treats its girls as sex slaves? Because white men do it too? That’s your best answer?

  26. Natasha Aiken, just because a white man does it, doesn't mean it's right. Why should any modern government support any tradition that allows men to turn their own daughters into slaves? These Mormons you talk of have been known to sell girls as young as 13 to the highest bidders, and the same thing is happening in Israel, at the expense of the tax-payers there. Why do you feel any state should support a culture that treats its girls as sex slaves? Because white men do it too? That's your best answer?

  27. Roasted Locust Actually I don’t for one second mention ‘white’ anything. As I told you before, if you ask a sensible question, you will get a sensible answer, otherwise don’t bother.

  28. Roasted Locust Actually I don't for one second mention 'white' anything. As I told you before, if you ask a sensible question, you will get a sensible answer, otherwise don't bother.

  29. Natasha Aiken, I’ve asked you dozens of sensible questions, but you aren’t sensible enough to answer them. Your only defense of polygamy is “Well, Mormon fundamentalists do it, so what’s the big deal?” When confronted with a simple question, you attack the one posing the question without touching the question itself. You’ve given no good reasons why Israel should support, without question, families where the father has multiple wives and little responsibility to them and their children. You say it’s a form of social engineering to try to change this system of slavery, but you don’t even understand what social engineering is and how nearly every form of government practices it (taxes on unhealthy products, public education and television, welfare, medicine, etc.). Get real…when the government is paying for everything, it becomes the government’s job to reduce costs by “nudging” people into making the right decisions for their own health and the health of the nation. Now grow up and take an accounting class and try to understand that women deserve to be treated as equals and taxpayers aren’t responsible for raising the children of others…it’s an act of charity, which is not required. They’re lucky the Israelis are so kind, because the Israelis could use that money for other purposes. You think money is as free as the air though, but even the air has limits, except for maybe the air coming from your lungs or head…

  30. Roasted Locust Your “sensible” questions are hidden behind your strawmen and your bad attitude, that is why I won’t answer you, why should I? Why would it benefit me? Your not actually entitled to a response from me and frankly I couldn’t care less what you think.

  31. Natasha Aiken, I've asked you dozens of sensible questions, but you aren't sensible enough to answer them. Your only defense of polygamy is "Well, Mormon fundamentalists do it, so what's the big deal?" When confronted with a simple question, you attack the one posing the question without touching the question itself. You've given no good reasons why Israel should support, without question, families where the father has multiple wives and little responsibility to them and their children. You say it's a form of social engineering to try to change this system of slavery, but you don't even understand what social engineering is and how nearly every form of government practices it (taxes on unhealthy products, public education and television, welfare, medicine, etc.). Get real…when the government is paying for everything, it becomes the government's job to reduce costs by "nudging" people into making the right decisions for their own health and the health of the nation. Now grow up and take an accounting class and try to understand that women deserve to be treated as equals and taxpayers aren't responsible for raising the children of others…it's an act of charity, which is not required. They're lucky the Israelis are so kind, because the Israelis could use that money for other purposes. You think money is as free as the air though, but even the air has limits, except for maybe the air coming from your lungs or head…

  32. Roasted Locust Your "sensible" questions are hidden behind your strawmen and your bad attitude, that is why I won't answer you, why should I? Why would it benefit me? Your not actually entitled to a response from me and frankly I couldn't care less what you think.

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