Middle East Research and Information Project: Critical Coverage of the Middle East Since 1971

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.”

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How to cite this article:

Lisa Hajjar "Between a Rock and a Hard Place," Middle East Report 207 (Summer 1998).