"Meet the Israeli spreading the gospel of polyamory"
Polyfolks need community in order to thrive and flourish, and I wonder if that's really happening here:
'I Know My Boyfriend’s Wife. We Go Out for Coffee Together'
Meet the Israeli spreading the gospel of polyamory
By Rotem Starkman and Ronny Linder-Ganz
Masha Halevi, a 44-year-old Israeli woman from Shoham, did her doctorate in geography on places sacred to Christianity. So it may be surprising that her status today, in total contradiction to the view of Christianity — or most other religions — is married + boyfriend....
Four and a half years ago, on her 40th birthday, a dramatic change took place in her life.... “I discovered that there’s such a thing as an open relationship. I told my husband that that was what I wanted.” Her husband’s initial reaction was firm opposition. But after two months of discussion and hesitation, he agreed to try. ... Today she has a husband and a boyfriend. ... “My boyfriend is married in an open marriage and he has a family, so that it’s balanced.” ...
She began telling her friends. Two and a half years ago she wrote a revealing post on Facebook, and very soon was being interviewed on television. [This show.]
It was after she had gone public that Halevi began to feel uneasy. “I felt that I had to prove that I was normal in other ways. For example, I needed my daughter’s hair to be combed and her ponytail in place, so people wouldn’t think that I was a mother who neglected her children while she's spending time with her boyfriend. I still didn’t know if the people around me knew. It was quiet.”
“At a school event I quietly asked one of the fathers, who was a friend... whether people knew about me. He told me that when I was interviewed by Amnon Levy on TV, within an hour, everyone in Shoham knew, there were WhatsApp messages and phone calls — 'Turn on the television quickly.' And then, next to the food table, one of the mothers said to me, 'You probably know what I think.’ But I didn’t know. There I was, standing there, waiting for her to hand down her judgment, while she was piling food on her plate. Finally, she told me, 'I really envy you.' But not everyone is envious, some of them judge me.”
When Halevi, who now runs a website called “From Monogamy to Open Relationships,” began to analyze [hostile comment] responses, she realized that what people were reflecting was “a shakeup of the most basic world order. If it’s possible to question something as axiomatic as monogamy — where does that leave us? ... Polyamory really is shaking up things, because it allows you to take apart everything that used to be included in a single package. ... For the government and the bureaucracy, that’s problematic. ... Monogamy is convenient for the bureaucracy and provides a wrapping of security, but it also destroys the relationship. Many people either cheat or feel that they’re missing out on something.”
The piece goes on to interview her directly, including these interesting bits:
Q: Some people say that polyamory is a capitalist consumer concept — sanctifying choice, taking what you need from each person - money, sex, family life, security.
A: “Monogamy is a consumer concept to the same degree. Both are strategies for fulfilling needs. Monogamy is a solution for needs such as security, certainly. Non-monogamous relationships are a solution for things like freedom, excitement, for some people sexuality.”
Q: Who usually initiates the opening of a marriage?
A: “Almost always the woman. I think it has an element of female empowerment, because throughout history, men were free to cheat or to marry additional women. ... Women didn’t have that freedom until the advent of financial independence and birth control.... So I think it’s a continuation of female empowerment, and it’s no coincidence that more women choose it.”
Read the whole article (May 25, 2017).
She is not the only out Israeli poly activist, and this is not the first treatment of the subject in Israeli media; here are three more that have crossed my very spotty foreign radar. And as for community, I see there is a Polyamory Israel Meetup. Do any of you readers know if this the tip of an iceberg?