Abandoned Bedouin women mistreated
Bedouin women whose husbands take up other women continue to live by their side in order to be close to their children. As a result they are not considered single patents eligible for income support, living in destitute poverty. Women’s groups file petition with High Court to mend situation
A group of women’s organizations filed a petition with the High Court of Justice last week claiming that the National Insurance Institute determines the income support eligibility of Bedouin women who have been abandoned by their husbands in a manner ill-fitting the reality of their lives and disregarding their cultural disparity.
The petitioners include the Women Lawyers for Social Justice organization and a forum of Arab-Bedouin women’s groups. They have motioned to order the NII to cancel certain tests serving as criteria for income support eligibility for single-parent Bedouin women and replace them with more appropriate standards befitting the women’s lifestyle.
The petition claimed that Bedouin women are subject to their community’s social and traditional norms against their will and denied the choice of residence location. They are forced to live in a area controlled by their father or the father of their children. The petition further submitted that in many cases the man maintains a family life with only one woman thus neglecting the others is married to, and their children.
“Despite being abandoned, Bedouin women are forced to stay in the tribal space of the father of their children so as not to lose their children,” the petition stated. These women depend upon NII allowances as a source of living.
The petitioners claimed that in many cases the NII rejects the abandoned women’s claims for full income support and doesn’t consider them single parents. According to the petition, these women and their children live in destitute poverty and at times reach a state of starvation.
“As a result of NII procedures, these women are faced with the dilemma of their lives – choosing residence near their children or receiving income support as a separate woman,” the petition stated.
“And what does a mother choose? These women and their children have been abandoned by their families and tribes, as well as the National Insurance Institute and are beind denied their and their children’s right to live in dignity.”