Uproar fails to stop polyamory event at religious Israeli university

Published 05.02.2019 19:00
Updated 05.02.2019 19:01

A seminar on polyamory went ahead at a religiously oriented Israeli university, despite protests against it by Orthodox Jewish groups who slammed it as an "adultery conference."

Tuesday's conference at Bar-Ilan, a major university in central Israel, is geared towards sex and relationship therapists and explores issues that may arise while working with polyamorous patients.

Over the past week, religious groups have been doing their best to have the seminar nixed.

A Facebook group against the event called "adultery at Bar-Ilan!" bears a logo of one of the Ten Commandments: "You shall not commit adultery."

Bar-Ilan University attracts many religious Jewish students and lecturers, and requires students to include Jewish studies in their degrees.

Polyamory is the idea that a person can have several loves at one time and conduct multiple relationships simultaneously.

Demonstrators believe the concept clashes with Jewish values. One of the protests was organized at an interchange outside the university at the time as the seminar.

An online petition to stop the seminar garnered more than 2,700 signatures. It states: "If you too think that this is a conference which is not moral and not academic, join us in our activities to cancel the adultery conference."

The page charges the university of "legitimizing the phenomenon of consensual and institutionalized betrayal" among married couples.

Responding to a request for comment, Bar-Ilan said the conference is a professional one and "is not intended to encourage polyamory."

"Polyamory has become a more prevalent social issue and, as such, is of great interest to the sex therapist professional community in Israel," it said in a statement.

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