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This article explores how Israel, as an occupying power, utilizes its legal system to control Palestinians by selectively enforcing the prohibition against bigamy only in cases that involve Palestinian spouses. Based on archival research and extensive textual analysis of policy debates within the Israeli authorities during the 1980s, it uncovers the selective enforcement of bigamy laws in cases involving Palestinian women, also exploring how the state manipulates “security” and “demographic” concerns. These manipulations are a manifestation of state power, which is applied similarly to all Palestinians, across the Israeli/Palestinian border.

Dr. Rawia Aburabia is an Assistant Professor of Law at Sapir College School of Law. She earned her Ph.D. from the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in an interdisciplinary doctoral program “Human Rights under Pressure- Ethics, Law and Politics” that was jointly held by the Hebrew University and the Freie Universität Berlin. Aburabia received her LL.M in International Human Rights Law from the American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC. Aburabia teaches and researches in the fields of family law, international human rights law, feminist jurisprudence, and minority rights. Aburabia has received several awards for her academic and feminist work. She was awarded the Ma'of scholarship of the council of higher education for outstanding Arab Doctors (2020) and the Polonsky post-doctoral fellowship (2019). Aburabia was selected by Globes Magazine “40 under 40” most promising young leaders in Israel (2018), and by 972 Magazine “Person of the Year: Woman Activists of the Arab World” (2011). Aburabia practiced as a human rights attorney for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and has been at the forefront of several civil rights initiatives, concerning the unrecognized Bedouin villages and Bedouin women’s rights in Israel.