Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Arab Women, Liberal Feminism and the Israeli State

by Lisa Hajjar
published in MER207

There is a bill pending in the Israeli Knesset that would allow women the option to use the country’s civil courts for personal status matters. Liberal Israeli feminists see this as promoting “women’s rights” by loosening the grip of religious authorities over women’s personal lives. But Israel is not a liberal state, so there is something fundamentally problematic in assuming common gender interests, since women in Israel have no common status or rights as citizens. In fact, as long as Israel is a Jewish state, the Muslim, Christian and Druze religious institutions will remain important sources of communal identity for Israel’s Arabs (women and men), since the civil state is not really “theirs.”

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Filed under: