Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Arabs, Jewish, Women, Sex, Slaves. Now that I Have Your Attention ...

A few weeks ago in my Talmud Study Group we learned, in a sugya in Bava Metzia, that adult single Jewish women were not allowed to own Jewish male slaves for fear that they would have out of wedlock sexual relations with them. They were allowed to have non-Jewish male slaves, because non-Jewish slaves were assumed to be so indiscreet that they would boast about the sexual encounter, and thus no Jewish woman would dare take the chance of having relations with them. (Jewish slaves, it is assumed are more discrete, though clearly not less sexually licentious.)

Well some things change and somethings don't. It seems that In Israel adult Jewish women can still not be trusted to be alone with adult males- but now its with non-Jews

According to

פרסום ראשון: מנהלת השירות הלאומי פרסמה הוראות לפיהן מתנדבי השירות הלאומי לא יתנדבו אחרי השעה 21:00. הסיבה: קמפיין שניהלו רבנים וארגונים בציונות הדתית בעקבות עדויות על יחסים אינטימיים בין בנות שירות לרופאים ערבים. אך ארגון להב"ה שהיה ממובילי הקמפיין לא מרוצה: "יש להפסיק את השירות הלאומי בכל מקום שיש גויים"

"The directorate of National Service (Sherut Leumit) [an alternative to military service that many religious women, as well as Arabs, pacifists, etc., avail themselves of] has publicized orders whereby volunteers to National Service will not serve after 9:00 PM. The reason: a campaign run by Rabbis and Religious Zionist organizations following accounts about intimate relations between National Service females and Arab doctors. However, the organization Lahava [see here (Hebrew) and here  (sic) ] which was one of the leaders of the campaign is not satisfied: "We must stop National Service in all places were there are goyim"
This is indeed in accord with the Talmudic section that I studied - in as much as adult Jewish women should not be in places where they could have out of wedlock sex (apparently even the Religious women of Sherut Leumit cannot be trusted to control themselves) - but Lahava got an important point wrong. According to the Talmud these women are much more likely to have relations with Jews than non-Jews - so, it seems to me, they should be kept away from Jewish men and required to serve ONLY in Arab communities.

One thing that is, unfortunately, consistent between that Talmudic passage and this incident is the misogyny and the racism - and I am not sure which is worse. Of course I can forgive the Talmud - it was written over 1500 years ago. The Israeli National Service Administration, and the "Religions Zionist organizations", not so much


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