Law, politics, and violence against women: A case study of palestinians in Israel

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Major controversies regarding the value of legal and policy reforms have accompanied research on wife battering and social reactions to it. The present study examines the utility of law enforcement and emphasizes the relationship between gender, culture, and politics. It points to the difficulties arising from the shift from private, traditional methods of dealing with violence against women to a more public approach characterized by intervention of the state and the criminal justice system. In this connection, it was hypothesized that enforcement of the Israeli Law Against Family Violence among the oppressed and discriminated Palestinian minority generates new conflicts within the group, exacerbating control and abuse and re-victimizing women. Social control agents (formal and informal) who were interviewed about their perceptions and attitudes regarding the applicability of such a law pointed to obstacles created by sociocultural variables, the political legacy and procedural barriers. An attempt is made to show that application of the law without prior preparation and understanding of its sociocultural and political ramifications may produce adverse effects at the victim’s expense. That is, unless power struggles, cultural pressures, and political priorities are taken into consideration, criminal strategies that seek to eliminate abuse may prove to be dangerous.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)189-211
Number of pages23
JournalLaw and Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1999


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