Infanticide and the Life-Threatening Abandonment of Children in Israel's State-Building Era (1948-1968)

Orna Alyagon Darr, Nomi Levenkron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our study sheds light on an obscure aspect of Israel's first two decades when cases of infanticide and life-threatening abandonment were a familiar occurrence. Such cases reveal the disparity between the venerated Zionist ideal of motherhood and family, and the practical reality in which unmarried girls, mothers of children with special needs, or mentally ill and indigent mothers killed or abandoned their own children. Surprisingly, cases of this type were treated with leniency by the legal system and the public at large. Based on criminal files and the contemporary press, we argue that this response is better understood given the cultural background of the offences which reflected wider social and national distress. Each of these cases reflects not only the image of a homicidal mother, but also a fissure in the emerging Israeli society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-207
Number of pages26
JournalIsrael Studies
Volume27
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Indiana University. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Infanticide
  • Israel
  • Law and Society
  • Legal History
  • State-Building

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