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If I Am Not for Myself, Who Will Be for Me?: Female Autonomy, Human Rights-Consciousness, and the Right to Exit From Haredi Communities in Israel

Briggs, Jessica Sarah

The “right to exit” refers to the right of individuals to leave (exit) their religious or cultural groups. While not expressly articulated in any international human rights documents, the right to exit from cultural or religious groups is guaranteed by the internationally acknowledged rights to self-determination, freedom of religion, and freedom of movement. In this study, I examine the effects of Israel’s religious policies on women in Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish communities, where women have an exceptionally difficult time asserting autonomy, voicing and remedying grievances, and exiting their marriages and/or community if they wish to. By accommodating the Haredim, Israel denies Haredi women many rights guaranteed to all Israeli women by virtue of their citizenship. I conclude that Israel must reform its education system to better ensure that all citizens, regardless of religious affiliation are able to: 1. develop human rights consciousness and autonomy in childhood, and 2. access social services in adulthood that facilitate the full exercise of their rights as Israeli citizens and human beings, including the right to exit.

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Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Chuman, Joseph N.
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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