Jerusalem, August 31 - A member of the Joint List alliance of Arab parties in the Knesset has demanded that the State show consistency in its treatment of the Arab minority, and allow him to vote multiple times on a single piece of legislation, as it apparently allows him to maintain multiple wives, and he must therefore be more than one person.
Taleb Abu Arar, elected to the Joint List delegation in 2015, has two wives, a common practice in the Bedouin community. Polygamy is officially illegal in Israel, but its ban is seldom enforced. Abu Arar argued today in an interview that if the State is willing to condone his adherence to certain norms of Bedouin society at odds with modern or international modes of behavior, there is no reason it cannot similarly refuse to enforce the prohibition on voting multiple times.
"If, as the authorities have stated, it is a matter of deference to existing cultural standards in the Bedouin community, that means as a man, I am granted privileges that my non-Bedouin countrymen are not," he explained. "I can marry as many women as I desire, even if those marriages are not officially recorded by the Ministry of the Interior. The various welfare institutions such as the National Insurance Institute have ways of shoehorning polygamous families into the monthly allowance system. The Knesset should, by the same token, count my votes many times, since I am performing the role of multiple men." It certainly should not penalize him, since he has suffered no consequences to having his name revealed as part of the Ashley Madison subscriber database last year.
"In fact," he continued, "the same privilege should apply to all members of the Bedouin community, who have the potential to take many wives and father many children through them. If something as severe as raping one's wife is never acted on by the police, let alone prosecuted, then it should not take much to indulge us in behavior that does far less direct physical and emotional damage. Let each Bedouin man vote several times in local and national elections." Abu Arar said such a policy would help boost the Bedouin's political, and thus economic, clout, and help combat the poverty afflicting much of that demographic, especially in the Negev.
"Of course economic prosperity can bring with it all sorts of unpleasant side effects, such as women's empowerment, and we must take care to avoid such a phenomenon," he warned. "So we will have to engineer all the economic benefits in ways that reinforce patriarchy rather than diminish it. It would be an assault on our native culture. Even the police understand that, so the rest of the State apparatus should have no problem."
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