"Broken Glass": The Divorced Woman in Moslem Arab Society in Israel

Orna Cohen, Rivka Savaya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This article presents the findings of a preliminary, qualitative, exploratory study of divorce in Israeli-Arab society from the perspectives of divorced women living in Jaffa, Israel, and of Arab professionals engaged in therapeutic work. It explores the causes of divorce, the women's coping with the divorce process, and what constitutes post-divorce adjustment, based on the experiences of nine divorced Moslem Arab women and the input of six Arab professionals. The women attributed their divorces to extreme external factors: their husband's substance abuse, mental illness, and I or severe physical violence against them, as well as to interference by their husband's family of origin. They told of coping by relying on their inner resources and the strength their children gave them, while their own families of origin were almost uniformly critical and rejecting. They defined post-divorce adjustment as passing the test of female honor posed by their community, which they did by downplaying their femininity and immersing themselves in housework and childcare. The findings were compared with the research and clinical knowledge that has accumulated on divorce in Western society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-245
Number of pages21
JournalFamily Process
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1997


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