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Polygamy approved by Israeli rabbis to counter Arab demographic threat

With backing from Jerusalem chief rabbi, “The Complete Jewish Home” helps Jewish men marry a second wife, claiming this helps single women have families, counters demographic trends
Image of Israeli rabbis [U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/Flickr]
Image of Israeli rabbis [U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/Flickr]

Israeli rabbis have approved the practice of polygamy to counter what they believe is a demographic threat posed by Arab populations living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

An expose by Channel 10, an Israeli broadcasting channel, revealed the practice was approved by the rabbinate that has actively encouraged and facilitated polygamy, claiming the practice will give Jews an edge in the demographic race against Arabs in Israel.

One rabbi who has been married for 26 years is filmed by an undercover reporter persuading a single woman to become his second wife.

“If your parents ask you why you don’t marry like everyone else,” he told her, “tell them that it is a mitzvah [religious commandment] and I want to do a mitzvah.”

The rabbi showed the reporter a letter signed by Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar permitting him to marry a second wife.

Read: Israeli rabbis launch war on Christmas tree

Reporting on the story, The Times of Israel commented that “although Jewish law forbids a woman to marry more than one husband, a practice known as polyandry, it does permit a man to marry more than one wife.”

“There are several instances of polygamy in the Bible, including two of the three patriarchs (Abraham and Jacob) and many of the kings. Jewish law gives guidelines as to the circumstances under which polygamy is permitted,” The Times of Israel explained.

The Israeli newspaper also claimed that there are cases outside of Israel, primarily within Sephardic communities, where a husband who refuses to divorce his wife is granted permission to remarry by a rabbi. This leaves the first wife as an aguna, or chained woman, who is forbidden by Jewish law from remarrying.

A spokesperson for a pro-Jewish demographic domination group, The Complete Jewish Home, told Channel 10: “We are dealing with men and women who are responsible, and this is a solution to the problem of having more single women than men seeking marriage. It also ensures the Jewish demographic majority in the country, and guarantees the right of religious women to become mothers.”

Though polygamy has been illegal in Israel since 1977, authorities largely turn a blind eye to the practice.

Read: ‘Return to the Mount’ activists seek destruction of Al-Aqsa

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  • Mike Abramov

    Polygamy is acceptable in both Jewish and Muslim religious practice. However, there is a criteria and that is the ability to have the finances to keep more than one wife. The norm in the old days was up to four wives as was the case with my great-grandfather.

    If the Chasidic community in Israel feel that having more children will ‘balance’ the demography of Israel in my opinion is a matter of speculation. Learning to live together in harmony is more important.

    • sufipeace

      Jewish law limits polygyny to four? When was thi
      s ruling made?

      • Mike Abramov

        I know it is not recent. Probably from Biblical days onwards where polygamy was ‘normal’. Although the practice may have been outlawed in Christianity, my own great-grandfather had four wives ,but that was in Samarkand in Central Asia.

    • طه زهير

      The criteria in the Quran is being able to treat them equally. And also, the Quran has a limit of up to 4 wives per man. Not sure about Judaism though.

      • Mike Abramov

        My friend, the laws in both Islam and Judaism are virtually identical.

        • sufipeace

          Its true that they r similar. But I believe that originally the number of wives were unlimited in Judaism. Probably, later after Muslim exposure rabbis amended the law. I was told that many Jewish law were changed to favor women after Muslim influence.

          • Mike Abramov

            You may well be right. My guess is that the common denominator was cost. In reality, there would have been much jealousy between the wives to win the favour of the husband. The Ottomans demonstrated this very well in their 600 year history.

    • Yitzchak Micha’el

      This is interesting I was told though I did not beleive it that Bukharian jews did not practice having more than one wife. My wife is Bukhari.

      • Mike Abramov

        Shalom Yitzchak – The practice of polygamy was quite common in Central Asia ‘providing one can afford to keep the wives financially’. That was in the 19th century. I doubt very much that any Bukhari can afford to have more than one wife in the 21st century.

  • sasboy

    What kind of ”democracy” considers it own citizenry a threat because they are not Jewish. Israel seems to be completely racist.

    • Sueb

      You must be very young. Islam/muslims are not a race, not a religion but a political movement disguised as a religion dedicated to world domination by sharia law. The object of islam is everybody, including Jewish people must submit to islam. That means convert or die or be a slave. Self preservation is not racist.

      • sasboy

        Occupation ethnic cleansing and mass murder are not self preservation.

        • Sueb

          Aren’t you the scripted parrot. Occupation ethnic cleansing? Are there muslims in Israel? If so there has been no ethnic cleansing on the Israeli side.

          • sasboy

            Are there Jewish people in Europe ? If so, there was no anti Semitism there.

          • Sueb

            Is not the middle east muslim? What’s the fuss over a piece of property that can be compared to postage stamp on a football field? Now they (muslims) want all of Israel. You are aware that those Palestinians are not welcome in any other muslim country. Why you ask. Because they are a PIA. Your suggestion of “If the palistians want the Israelis gone, then the Israelis must go. Israelis are not all Jewish you know. A great idea would be for Jews to start their own country where there would be no anti Semitism, where Jews could live by their own laws and government. Oh yea…….been there done that.

          • Helen4Yemen

            All Ashkenazi are 99.9% of European ancestry and 0% of Middle East ancestry? What is a European doing in the ME?

          • Sueb

            Judaism is from Biblical Israel. Biblical Israel is right where it is now, in the middle east. So what are you saying? A)Jews cannot be white. B) Europeans cannot be Jews. C)only dark skinned Jews are have a right to live in Israel. D) White Jews must go to Europe. E) You have been on to many anti Semitic websites. F) You are unaware that the Rothchilds went into the ME and bought up land for Israel.

          • Helen4Yemen

            Can the Ashkenazi Jew claim ancestry to Palestine at 99.9% confirmed European DNA and 0% ME DNA?

          • Gregory Magarshak

            Actually Ashkenazi Jews have a lot of “ME DNA” as you call it. They are much more genetically related to Sephardic Jews for example than to their host populations in Europe. The Khazar theory has been genetically debunked also.

            And in any case Helen did you know that over half the Israelis in Israel are actually NOT ASHKENAZI but from the Middle East? Such as Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews. What do you have against them? They were kicked out by Arabs, bigger refugee group than Palestinian refugees. Israel gave them a home. While Arab countries still keep their native born children stateless if they are of Palestinian descent. It has been 70 years since the Nakba yet many (eg in Lebanon) Arabs native born in the country have no equal rights to work or own property.

            Except Jordan. I should say Jordan gave a lot of Palestinian refugees citizenship. If it wasn’t for the PLO then Jordan would still have sovereignty of the West Bank. Google the Jericho Conference. Also if not for the PLO, Kuwait wouldn’t have expelled so many Palestinians, neither would there be a civil war in Lebanon nor formation of Hizbollah etc etc.

          • Helen4Yemen

            ” They are much more genetically related to Sephardic Jews for example than to their host populations in Europe.”

            Alan Dershowitz = 99.9% European
            Bill Oreilly = 99.8% European

            Tell me what is the difference between these two Europeans.

            Dershowitz
            98. 5% Ashkenazi
            0.4% Southern European
            0.1% Balkan
            0.9% Broadly European
            0.1% East Asian
            99.9% European

            Bill Oreilly DNA
            British Irish 87.8%
            Scandinavian 1.7%
            Iberian 0.9%
            Finish 0.2%
            Broadly European 9.2%
            Unmatched 0.2%
            European 99.8%
            Middle East 0.0%

          • Gregory Magarshak

            Here is text directly from Wikipedia to answer you.

            Recent studies have been conducted on a large number of genes homologous chromosomes or autosomes (all chromosomes except chromosomes X and Y). A 2009 study was able to genetically identify individuals with full or partial Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.[7] In August 2012, Dr. Harry Ostrer in his book Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People, summarized his and other work in genetics of the last 20 years, and concluded that all major Jewish groups share a common Middle Eastern origin. Ostrer also claimed to have refuted the Khazar theory of Ashkenazi ancestry.[8] Citing autosomal DNA studies, Nicholas Wade estimates that “Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews have roughly 30 percent European ancestry, with most of the rest from the Middle East.” He further noticed that “The two communities seem very similar to each other genetically, which is unexpected because they have been separated for so long.” Concerning this relationship he points to Atzmon’s conclusions that “the shared genetic elements suggest that members of any Jewish community are related to one another as closely as are fourth or fifth cousins in a large population, which is about 10 times higher than the relationship between two people chosen at random off the streets of New York City”[9] Concerning North African Jews, autosomal genetic analysis in 2012 revealed that North African Jews are genetically close to European Jews. This finding “shows that North African Jews date to biblical-era Israel, and are not largely the descendants of natives who converted to Judaism,”[10] Y DNA studies examine various paternal lineages of modern Jewish populations. Such studies tend to imply a small number of founders in an old population whose members parted and followed different migration paths.[6] In most Jewish populations, these male line ancestors appear to have been mainly Middle Eastern. For example, Ashkenazi Jews share more common paternal lineages with other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than with non-Jewish populations in areas where Jews lived in Eastern Europe, Germany and the French Rhine Valley. This is consistent with Jewish traditions in placing most Jewish paternal origins in the region of the Middle East.[11][12]

            A study conducted in 2013 found no evidence of a Khazar origin for Ashkenazi Jews and suggested that “Ashkenazi Jews share the greatest genetic ancestry with other Jewish populations, and among non-Jewish populations, with groups from Europe and the Middle East. No particular similarity of Ashkenazi Jews with populations from the Caucasus is evident, particularly with the populations that most closely represent the Khazar region. In this view, analysis of Ashkenazi Jews together with a large sample from the region of the Khazar Khaganate would corroborate earlier results that Ashkenazi Jews derive their ancestry primarily from populations of the Middle East and Europe, that they possess considerable shared ancestry with other Jewish populations, and that there is no indication of a significant genetic contribution either from within or from north of the Caucasus region.”[13]

          • Helen4Yemen

            Forget Wikipedia and fake science. Are you saying that

            Bill Oreilly = 99.8% European
            Alan Dershowitz = 99.9% European

            Are you saying what I have quoted above are wrong? If they are not wrong, then how did Dershowitz’s dna have a result of 99.9% European ancestry?

            You can dispute my claim by posting here the DNA results of an Ashkenazi that does not show him less than 99% European ancestry.
            You can’t, because all Ashkenazi are at a minimum 99% European ancestry. Prove me wrong and post just one DNA of one Ashkenazi.

          • Gregory Magarshak

            Apparently wikipedia is fake. Ok then investigate the genetic studies they cited yourself. See what their authors wrote. Oh wait they are all fake too? Only fringe people who agree with you are real? It seems that is your position. Maybe Google is fake too – after all Sergey Brin is Jewish. They hide information from you!

            Listen I am just answering your questions in the most obvious and staightforward way. You don’t like reality and encyclopedias and actual studies? You want to cling to fake conspiracy theories? Not my problem.

            “Are you saying what I have quoted above is wrong”?

            Dershowitz in WHAT YOU QUOTED was found to be overwhelmingly Ashkenazi, unlike O’Reilly which was overwhelmingly Irish. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IN YOUR OPINION?

            Then you simply classified both as “European”. So the genetics were very different and at the end you just labeled Ashkenazi as “European”. Thats your proof lol

            You did not read a word of what I linked to, or posted here, regarding ACTUAL STUDIES showing how much more similar Jews are from around the world than Ashkenazi Jews and Europeans. The studies that show ONLY about 30% European ancestry in Ashkenazi Jews

            You have no desire to educate yourself from mainstream sources or read genetic studies yet you pretend to be an expert on Jewish genetics. “How could I be wrong?????” Ha ha ha.

          • Helen4Yemen

            Simply provide the result of an Ashkenazi DNA that points in the direction of the ME for ancestry instead of Europe. I am telling you they do not exist. If they do, then just post one DNA sample of one Ashkenazi. Why are you afraid to provide this very simple task?

            My list of articles of these fake science is over 100. We do not need ‘studies’ – just provide a DNA result of one Ashkenazi. I have a feeling you can’t do it.

          • Helen4Yemen

            “Dershowitz in WHAT YOU QUOTED was found to be overwhelmingly Ashkenazi”
            __
            Can you tell me what ‘Ashkenazi’ means in DNA category?

          • Helen4Yemen

            ” The studies that show ONLY about 30% European ancestry in Ashkenazi Jews”
            ___
            Why would that be? It is like saying only 30% of Nigerians have ancesty in Africa? It would have to be 100% of Nigerians have ancestry in Africa and 100% of Ashkenazi have ancestry in Europe. Why would one Ashkenazi be different from another?

          • Helen4Yemen

            Why can’t you post a DNA result of one Ashkenazi that points in the direction of the ME as his ancestry instead of Europe. Got one? Present it … waiting …

          • Helen4Yemen

            ” The studies that show ONLY about 30% European ancestry in Ashkenazi Jews”
            ___
            Then you should be able to present here the DNA results of any of the 70% Ashkenazi whose DNA is not European? Got one? Of course not.
            Why would one Ashkenazi be of European ancestry and not the other? Got a good explanation for this silly statement?

          • TecumsehUnfaced

            Why do you believe in researchers that won’t share their data?

          • Helen4Yemen

            “all major Jewish groups share a common Middle Eastern origin”
            ___
            Who are the major Jewish groups? Ugandan, Chinese, Iraqi, German, Kenyan, Yemeni, Indian … all have the same ‘Jewish DNA”?

          • TecumsehUnfaced

            Did YU’s Harry Ostrer Cook The Genetic Books To Support False Findings Of Ashkenazi Jews Origins?
            May 07, 2013

            An Israeli researcher alleges that a Yeshiva University professor manipulated data to reach the “false” conclusion that Ashkenazi Jews have a predominantly Middle Eastern genetic origin when in fact their genetic signature is predominantly from the Caucus region of northeast Asia. And even though this Israeli researcher published his study debunking Ostrer and other geneticists more than 6 months ago, none of them will respond to the questions about their work.

            [snip]

            “It was a great pleasure reading your group’s recent paper, ‘Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era,’ that illuminate[s] the history of our people,” Elhaik wrote to Ostrer. “Is it possible to see the data used for the study?”

            Ostrer replied that the data are not publicly available. “It is possible to collaborate with the team by writing a brief proposal that outlines what you plan to do,” he wrote. “Criteria for reviewing include novelty and strength of the proposal, non-overlap with current or planned activities, and non-defamatory nature toward the Jewish people.” That last requirement, Elhaik argues, reveals the bias of Ostrer and his collaborators.

            ->http://failedmessiah.typepad.COM/failed_messiahcom/2013/05/did-yus-harry-ostrer-cook-the-genetic-books-to-support-false-findings-of-ashkenazi-jews-origins-345.html

          • Helen4Yemen

            After an entire decade after the Ashkenazi erected a state on stolen Arab land, there were

            105,000 Jews in Tunisia,
            265,000 in Morocco,
            75,000 in Egypt,
            140,000 in Algeria.

            That is after an entire decade! How did the Arabs ‘drive’ Jews out according to this record? Care to explain that to me? On the other hand, the Europeans did expel 900,000 Palestinians in a matter of a few weeks in 1948. Now, that is expulsion.

            Country —– 1,948 —— 1,958 —— Remained

            Tunisia —– 105,000 —– 80,000 — 76% remained
            Morocco —- 265,000 —- 200,000 — 75% remained
            Egypt ——— 75,000 ——- 40,000 — 53% remained
            Algeria —— 140,000 —— 130,000 — 92% remained

          • MAK

            Wrong. You can google it. Ashkenazim and Sephardim both have DNA originating in Middle East.

          • Helen4Yemen

            So do you think the Rabbi’s DNA results are wrong?
            ____
            Rabbi Hammerman
            97.2% Ashkenazi
            0.8% East European
            0.2% Southern European
            1.7% Broadly European
            0.1% Native American
            99.9% European

            Google => Rabbi Joshua Hammerman DNA

          • Sueb

            You do know that Judaism is not a race. It’s a religion. Anyone can join Judaism. You know that right?

          • Yitzchak Micha’el

            Slightly incorrect its both a religion and a ethnic group traditionally tribal conversion is more than adopting the religion it is more like tribal adoption.

          • gratifymenow

            What’s the fuss? That’s what the other article was about. You steal children from Jews who are a darker shade (because your racist ideology lumps them in with Arabs) and you justify it to yourselves with this flippant attitude; they are poor, they can’t afford to look after the children, we are doing them a favour etc. So you steal children from people who you have convinced yourself are not as human as you are, their loss is not as great as your gain because you are a real human being. And now “they” have lots of land so why do they want this postage stamp sized bit of land? Because it is their home and you have invaded and driven them out you evil racist inhuman excuses for people.

          • Helen4Yemen

            How the …. do you think all those Jews were living in Arab countries before the white man did a stampede and the seized the land of Palestine?

          • Sueb

            OK helen4yemen, now i know where you’re coming from. From a non-white, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, anti European, pro Arab, pro islam pro black bias. Phrases like “white man stampede/seized the land (not country) of Palestine” were a dead give away. Anything you have to say will be so severely tainted with your bias that there will be no intelligent conversing.

    • Helen4Yemen

      You mean “Israel”?

    • gratifymenow

      Because it is not a democracy. It is a hateful racist theocratic state built for only one race/religion and then only for those who are lighter in shade. They have played the victim card for decades to justify their evil conduct but they will eventually hate themselves to death. Once you start down the path of hate of otherness then you will find degrees of otherness to hate

      • sasboy

        Israel should at least try to make an effort to treat Palestinians humanely.

      • MAK

        You are a moron.

        • Helen4Yemen

          The white Jews do inject the black Jewish women with birth control to them from having black babies, do they not?

    • Gregory Magarshak

      The State isn’t saying this, it is individual rabbis.

      If you are against speech that singles people out then perhaps you can say something about the radical Imams also who want Islam to take over democratic countries and outlaw homosexuality and atheism etc?

      If you are against states favoring one religion over another perhaps you might say a word about the dozens of Islamic countries that have special favors only for Muslims — including allowing Polygamy openly — while banning eg Jews from even entering the country (Saudi Arabia) or restricting religious freedoms of Christians etc?

      Point us to where you have said this nearly as much as about Israel. We will wait…

      • sasboy

        Jewish people are not banned from visiting Saudi Arabia. Ask Joe Lieberman.

    • Eduardo Pinha

      It´s a rabbi, and the news might not even be true. The state has nothing to do with this.

  • H Mokhbat

    If an Arabic or a Muslim country have implemented this law of a polygamy, it would have been in the front page media attacking us and treating us pathetic, and oppressors our women etc etc. What a hypocritical world we are living in.

    • طه زهير

      Double standard. If they’re doing it, it’s fine. If we’re doing it, we get backlash for it.

    • Yitzchak Micha’el

      Reality on the ground is that they persecute and hassle jews who marry or even try to have more than one wife but in Israel they tend to leave Bedouins and Arabs alone in this regard.

  • Joshua S

    Never have I heard polygamy is in any way compatible with modern Judaism. Crazy fundamentalists! WTH?

    • maxrapaport

      It is only compatible in the case of a female get refuser who has been designated as such by a rabbinic court (e.g. after refusing to accept a bill of divorce for a number of years).

  • Wahab Raimi

    Truth will always prevail over falsehood
    Is the scripture that mandate one man. one wife been amended ? Or can we rightly say that these people hàveno Jesus. in. their life

  • maxrapaport

    In most cases, the rabbinic allowance of a “second” wife is taken as a direct response to a case where the husband wants to divorce the first wife and where the first wife has refused to accept the bill of divorce for a significant period of time (usually more than 5 years). According to normative Jewish law as practiced by most observant Jews for most of the last 1,000 years, a divorce has two elements: (a) the husband must grant the bill of divorce to the wife; and (b) the wife must formally accept the bill of divorce in order for the divorce. A wife’s refusal to accept the divorce bill essentially places the husband in a state of limbo in which he is still married to his first wife. The only way out (to a second marriage) is for a rabbinic court to grant a special-case dispensation that overrules the mostly accepted ban on polygamy that has been nearly universally accepted (and universally accepted by European Jewish tradition) for about 1,000 years. Personally, I welcome use of this tactic as get/bill of divorce refusal (by men or women) is a particularly execrable form of behavior).

  • Wiktor

    “To defend our way of life, we have to imitate that of the enemy from which we are defending ourselves”? Nice logic, but doesn’t something get lost there?

  • Malcolm A. Rose

    Most cultures are polygamous but it is organised differently. In Western Europe divorce and all its disruptive effects on the children is normal. Having one wife or husband AFTER each break-up is NOT monogamy but “serial polygamy”.

  • Gina A.

    There is no such thing as Judeo-Christianity. Judaism and Christianity are fundamentally different.