A Jewish democratic state by definition must have a Jewish majority. Political scientist Rebecca Steinfeld studies how Israel has from its earliest days sought to establish and maintain that majority.
Oxford doctoral candidate Rebecca Steinfeld argues in Tablet Magazine today that granting Yigal Amir, the assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the right to conjugal visits and by extension the right to father a child is consistent with the state’s pro-natalist policies. Steinfeld is writing a dissertation on the topic, War of the Wombs: The History and Politics of Fertility Policies in Israel, 1948-2010. She spoke to Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about the evolution of these policies, from cash “birth prizes” awarded to mothers on the birth of their 10th child in the early days of the state to today’s heavily subsidized fertility procedures for women who wish to conceive, and about accusations that these policies have favored Jewish citizens over others. [Running time: 17:29.]
Israel has kept Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir in solitary confinement for more than 15 years while allowing him to father a child. In the context of exceptionally pro-natalist fertility policies, this seeming paradox makes sense.