Israeli Bedouin will now be denied additional land and financial grants for polygamous families, the Ministerial Committee for Bedouin Society approved Monday in a bit to combat polygamy in the country.
The proposal, put forth, by Social Equality Minister Amichai Chikli and Justice Minister Yariv Levin, is a major change in how land was allocated to Bedouin communities.
Up until now, Bedouin would receive land and financial grants for families as part of government attempts to regulate the many unrecognized Bedouin villages in Israel. However, according to lawmakers, this would up being an incentive to continue polygamy.
Polygamy is illegal in Israel, as it is in most countries around the world. However, there are two exceptions, first is when Jewish men are allowed to have a second wife in a very specific circumstance, the other is for Bedouin, which routinely practices it, and the state looks the other way.
How does this change how land is granted to Bedouin in Israel?
However, this newly approved move, which goes into effect immediately, will see the amount of land and money a Bedouin household receives being the same regardless of how many wives the husband has.
However, this law will not apply to polygamous families that have already been formed at this time. Instead, those, families will be given a two-year extension.
"From the day I took office as the head of, among other things, the [Bedouin Settlement and Development Authority], I made the government's fight against polygamy a top priority," Chikli said in a statement.
Levin said that this move "will help deal with polygamy and its negative consequences."
The right-wing NGO Regavim, which has long voiced its opposition to Bedouin polygamy practices, hailed the move as "a significant step in returning the rule of law to the Negev."
Adalah did not respond to The Jerusalem Post's request to comment.