Israeli-Palestinian Women and Their Reasons for Divorce

A Comparative Perspective

in Israel Studies Review
Author: Tal Meler
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In the last three decades, Palestinian society within Israel has been undergoing changes in different spheres, with trends of change and preservation evolving simultaneously. Changes in the familial sphere include a rise in the divorce rate and, accordingly, in the number of single-parent families. Despite the increase in the number of single-parent family units headed by women, this pattern has barely gained legitimacy. As single mothers, divorced Palestinian women are subjected to considerable criticism and supervision on the part of their families. In this article I examine the reasons why Israeli-Palestinian women seek divorce, arguing that they reflect co-existing trends. While some reasons can be defined as traditional, others illustrate a process of change related to the adoption of values and images deriving from the Western romantic love ethos. The article is based on data gathered in semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted and analyzed with a commitment to the principles of feminist research.

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