Vox Tablet

Birth Right

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.

June 20, 2011
Jewish immigrants and their infants in Mandate Palestine, one year before the establishment of Israel.(Zoltan Kluger/GPO via Getty Images)

Jewish immigrants and their infants in Mandate Palestine, one year before the establishment of Israel.(Zoltan Kluger/GPO via Getty Images)

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.]

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Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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