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Court moves to end polygamy among Bedouin in rare enforcement of law

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Despite being outlawed in Israel since the early 1950s, polygamy has flourished among the Bedouin tribes in the Negev. This week, in a landmark ruling, the Beersheva Magistrates’ Court sentenced a Bedouin man to seven months in prison for polygamy in a major step toward not only eradicating polygamy but also enforcing Israeli law in the Bedouin sector. The NGO Regavim, which monitors Bedouin activity in the Negev, has welcomed the decision. Naomi Kahn, director of Regavim’s International Division, said that the crackdown on polygamy would also curb the growing Palestinization of the Bedouin, and reduce government handouts to polygamous families which amounts to some 70 percent of their income.

(photo: Sara Klatt/flash90) illustrative only

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