Dozens of divorced and separated Israeli mothers have joined the sex trade in the southern city of Eilat, according to a report on Channel 2 News's website.
The new trend can be seen as a byproduct of Israel's growing divorce rate, which studies say has reached 40% in just the first ten years of marriage.
According to the report, Eilat brothels disguised as massage parlors used to employ women brought into Israel for prostitution from the former Soviet Union and eastern Europe, but after the security fence was built along the border with Sinai, Bedouin smugglers are no longer able to bring these women into Israel.
Their place has been taken, in large part, by Israeli women, many of whom are divorced or recently separated mothers. The report quotes several of them as saying that they are able to make 20,000 shekels (over $5,000) or more a month in prostitution, while their former jobs earned them a quarter of that amount.
The Knesset's Committee for the Advancement of Women's Status visited Eilat last week in order to examine the matter from up close. Apparently, many of the prostitutes are unhappy with the fact that police raids have shut down some of the brothels and would like the MKs to intervene on their behalf.
Under pressure from radical women's groups, Israel has adopted a plethora of policies that encourage women to divorce - including meaningful financial benefits that are offered to separated and divorced women regardless of the circumstances of the divorce.
These benefits have been legislated over the years by the Committee for the Advancement of Women's Status, which was established by then-MK Naomi Chazan in 1992, and which is guided in large part by the Israel Women's Network, an NGO established by the New Israel Fund.
The Committee for Advancement of Women's Issues has been charged with holding a "politically correct" outlook that prefers to call prostitutes "victims of the sex trade" and which does not see their profession as immoral. Instead, it attempts to accord them various benefits while seeking to criminalize the hiring of prostitutes.