« Zimbabwe's Black Jews | Main | Before Banning The Internet, Rabbis Should Protect Haredi Children From Abuse And Molestation »

May 07, 2012

Shut Down Israel's State Rabbinic Courts

Placing wedding ring on bride's finger"There's no reason on earth why civil matters such as marriage, divorce, money, custody and child support should be decided by nonegalitarian religious courts that are committed not to Israeli law, but to religious law. So in the run-up to the next election, a moment before we draft "everyone," [including haredim,] it's high time to close the [state] rabbinical courts and abolish them [forever]."

Placing wedding ring on bride's finger

Opinion: It is high time to close Israel's rabbinical courts
In the run-up to the next election, a moment before we draft 'everyone,' it's high time to close the rabbinical courts and abolish them.
By Merav Michaeli • Ha’aretz

While the "political system" is boiling over whether or not to draft the ultra-Orthodox, a woman has been thrown in jail for refusing to divorce her husband. This is the second time the rabbinical court has sent her to jail during the 16 years in which she has refused the divorce; the last time, it said it was doing so in the name of gender equality.

Only there is no gender equality in Israel, especially when it comes to marriage. A man whose wife refuses to divorce him can receive permission from the rabbis to marry a second wife, while a woman whose husband refuses to divorce her cannot live with, marry or have children with another man.

The law allowing people who refuse to grant a divorce to be sent to jail was passed in 1995 as a way of dealing with men who refuse to divorce their wives. Very few women refuse to divorce their husbands. But according to Bar-Ilan University's Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women and the advocacy organization Mavoi Satum, one fifth of all divorcees are refused a divorce by their husband at least temporarily, and about 10,000 Israeli women have remained in this situation for many years. Yet since 2005, only 12 men have been jailed for refusing to grant a divorce.

The husband of the woman who has just been jailed has already received a permit from the rabbis to take a second wife, but he claims the fact that he isn't divorced is nevertheless important, because it could entitle his first wife to rights in his pension and his estate. The woman, however, is refusing to grant the divorce precisely because she claims she isn't receiving her due share of their common property. She says the property was divided on the basis of inadmissible evidence. And since the hearing was held in the rabbinical court rather than a family court, that could definitely be true. Incidentally, the woman is secular.

Men who condition a divorce on getting a larger part of the joint property than they are supposed to is a daily occurrence at the rabbinical courts, yet this has never been deemed grounds for jailing them. On the contrary, the dayanim (rabbinical judges ) collaborate in pressuring women to waive their share in order to obtain the divorce. Yet when a woman insists on her right to get her share of the property, she not only doesn't get the divorce, but now, Thus, the tools prescribed by law in an effort to compensate for women's inferior position in the rabbinical courts have instead merely increased the courts' power, and are now actually working against women. Of course, there are only men in the rabbinical courts. All the dayanim are men and only they get to decide.

But even regardless of women's rights, think how warped and severe the entire set-up is: Men and women are being locked up in jail to get them to divorce. In other words, we begin with a law that violates basic human rights by enabling a man to deprive the woman he marries of the fundamental freedom to marry and have children. Yet instead of correcting this distortion by abolishing the law that harms these basic human rights, we enact a law that worsens the violation of human rights by enabling people to be sent to jail, instead of simply giving both parties a divorce.

According to attorney Susan Weiss of the Center for Women's Justice - who for years has opposed the idea of using imprisonment as a sanction in divorce cases - when the civil authorities are in charge of regulating a couple's relationship, if either party doesn't want the marriage, it is considered an irretrievable breakdown, certainly after a period of de facto separation. The court then puts an end to the marriage and takes care of all the accompanying arrangements.

About a decade ago, I heard Yaakov Neeman, today the justice minister, explaining that religious legislation is bad for the Jewish religion. Where's the logic, he asked, in having a person observe the Sabbath just because he's afraid of being sent to jail? But his opinion has evidently changed, considering that since then, he has more than once promoted legislation to expand the rabbinical courts' powers.

That's a shame, because there's a lot of logic in what he said back then and there's no reason on earth why civil matters such as marriage, divorce, money, custody and child support should be decided by nonegalitarian religious courts that are committed not to Israeli law, but to religious law. So in the run-up to the next election, a moment before we draft "everyone," it's high time to close the rabbinical courts and abolish them.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Let's see how many posts this goes before someone dismisses it because it was in Ha’aretz.

Rebbitzman
I dismiss it because it was in haaretz and has issues with veracity.

She is playing loosey goosey with the truth in this case and what is currently happening in beit din reform issues.

Also she has lots of faulty logic it is a poorly thought out piece oh yes and it is from haaretz

Today in Israel if either party wants custody or finacial issues decide by the secular District Family Court , that's were it happens. The Rabbinic court system has nothing to do with any settlement issues and just processes the get. Hmm that was left out. Wonder why?

She forgot to mention that although.the rabbinate gave the husband permission to marry because a different part of the Israeli government is prohibiting his remarriage. Whoops a minor detail.

And could it be that that this wife is wacky? Could it be that this woman's claim is not legitimate?

What a lot of these advocates forget to mention is that divorces in Israel are often litigated just as they are in NY. And if you want a hearing date for let's say discovery issues you have to wait. That stretches out the time of the divorce preceding. Which many of these advocates distort as being men withholding ghets. Nope it is the length of the legal proceeding and it can take a couple of years.

Let's not forget non Jewish minorities in Israel, Muslims,Copts, Catholics ,Eastern Rites,Protestants ,Druze,circesians who do want their religious denominations to control marriage and divorce.

(btw if your catholic in Israel and want a divorce you officially convert to Greek orthodox and they will divorce you. Then you become a catholic again and the divorce is still valid. Easier than a annulment )

I am involved in divorce that may go to Israels high court of justice and may make some international waves within the Jewish community. my wife could spend up to four years in jail on felony charges.I am working through the systems that exist and deal with issues that come up when they come up. Oh yes I have a crazy wife who likely won't accept my ghet and she owes me money.

No legal system is perfect , not in the states and not in Israel.

Oh yes I have a crazy wife who likely won't accept my ghet

You do know she has no choice?

Rebbitzman

She has the choice to accept or refuse. Just as this recently jailed woman has refused for 16 years.
But in our case a virtually unused and unknown Halacha may be used so I am not concerned.

Anyway the takanot of rabbeinu gershon have expired at least according to rabbeinu gershon.

Jake

And could it be that that this wife is wacky? Could it be that this woman's claim is not legitimate?

Has there ever been a divorce case in which you haven't blamed the woman?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------

----------------

Please Scroll Down Toward The Bottom Of This Page For More Search Options And For A List Of Recent Posts

Recent Posts

Audio: Rabbi Eliezer Silver on Child Sexual Abuse.

Do you need help leaving an ultra-Orthodox community or navigating life outside one? Call Footsteps.

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar
Jibbadgefinalist

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

Comment Rules

  • 1. No anonymous comments.

    2. Use only one name or alias and stick with that.

    3. Do not use anyone else's name or alias.

    4. Do not sockpuppet.

    5. Try to argue using facts and logic.

    6. Do not lie.

    7. No name-calling, please.

    8. Do not post entire articles or long article excerpts.

    ***Violation of these rules may lead to the violator's comments being edited or his future comments being banned.***

Rubashkin Protest Gear

  • Rubashkin_parody_1

    Buy one of these and wear it to shul. Other Rubashkin gear as well. Protest!
  • Rubashkin_label_parody_1

    Wear this amazing T-shirt to your local supermarket. Better yet, buy a dozen and bring your friends – with signs! Available here!

Older Posts Complete Archives

Search FailedMessiah

Lijit Search

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------------

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com in the Media

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

RSS Feed

Blog Widget by LinkWithin