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February 22, 2013

Don't Get Married, Israeli Women Told

Merav Michaeli 3"Until then, the only thing to do is not to get married in this country…Make [conjugal] agreements, ceremonies, but don't register for marriage."

Merav Michaeli 3
Member of Knesset Merav Michaeli

End Rabbis’ Monopoly Over Marriage And Divorce, Knesset Hears
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

Labor Party MK Merav Michaeli urged Israeli Jewish women not to get married – as long as the haredi-controlled state-funded chief rabbis continue to control the process. Ha'aretz reported that Michaeli also called for the end of the state-funded rabbinate’s monopoly over marriage, divorce and issues of personal status.

"Until then, the only thing to do is not to get married in this country…Make [conjugal] agreements, ceremonies, but don't register for marriage," Michaeli said yesterday at a Knesset debate about the plight of agunot, women whose husbands are unwilling or unable to grant them a Jewish divorce known in Hebrew as a get.

Without a get, a woman cannot remarry and any children she might have with sexual partners other than her recalcitrant husband would be classified as mamzerim, bastards, and would be banned from marrying “pure” Jews as would their children and grandchildren for ten generations in total.

Husbands frequently withhold granting a get as a means to extract better divorce terms. Sometimes this turns into outright extortion in which tens of thousands of dollars – sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars – must be paid by the wife and her family in order to free her from her husband.

"The rabbis were wrongly given the sole authority over Jewish Israelis' personal status. Instead of acting to solve the problems in halakhic ways, the rabbis are doing the opposite, to demonstrate they have the power to run our lives,” Michaeli said.

MK Aliza Lavie of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party organized the debate. She urged the Knesset to act to ease the distress of agunot.

"This Knesset is committed to solve this problem and other stagnant state and religion issues. This is crucial to the state and to any Israeli who respects his own Jewishness and the state's," she said.

MK Rabbi Shay Piron of Yesh Atid, who was a prominent member before his election to Knesset last month of the Modern Orthodox Tzohar rabbis organization which seeks to overcome the Byzantine bureaucracy and gruffness of the haredi-controlled state rabbinate, said the solution for agunot should not come from Knesset legislation. Instead, Piron claimed, the rabbis are the ones who must find a solution, he said.

"Such changes are not brought about with legislation. Halakhic rulings and issues associated with halakhic controversy don't go through the Knesset," Prion reportedly said, angering several MKs.

MK Michal Rozin of the left of center Meretz Party vehemently opposed Piron's stance, claiming that the problem of men who refusal to grant their wife a Jewish divorce is part of the larger problem of violence against women in Israeli society.

"I say the solution must be in the government’s hands. Civil marriage and divorce procedures are a necessary condition for this. Israel must remove women's personal status from the rabbis' control," she said.

After the Knesset debate ended, Piron wrote on Facebook that the meeting with agunot "tore at his heart." He urged "as many men as possible" to put pressure on the rabbis to solve the problem.

Related Post: FailedMessiah.com Interview Of Merav Michaeli.


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Women have a whole network dealing with women's issues for various reasons. One of which s the feminist movement. Are all women who are involved in womans advocacy feminists no.but it did provide a framework for the outgrowth for groups to form for women's issues. And there is nothing wrong about that

The same never develop d for men. And whatever advantages Judaism gives to a man in divorce is easily matched when a woman chooses not to accept a ghet. Are there ways arou d that for a man? Yes.

But from personal experience rabbis for the most part are loath to use methods like heter mayah Rabbanim etc. Although it does happen it is the exception rather the rule when there is a woman who refuses to receive a ghet.

For those who refuse to accept the rabbinates numbers In terms of recalcitrant spouses, where there are slightly more men than women think about divorce in America.

We all know horror stories were either the husband or wife give the other party real trouble in civil litigation. Litigation. Can go on for years. The animosity is so thick it can be cut with a knife. About 15 years ago I had a friend for whom the divorce took over 5 years and cost her more than 1 million in legal fees. If she didn't have a jerk for a husband it could have been settled in a day. He kept on throwing money at his lawyers and was out for vengeance even though the ultimate settlement would not have differed. Women can do the same thing and have.

In my situation my wife via attorneys had informed she doesn't need a ghet. I never gave her one,nor at the time of separation was I required to not even according to the most left wing ( meaning liberal feminist leaning orthodox rabbis) orthodox rabbis. So per Jewish law we are still married.

It will eventually happen although she may spend 4 years in jail.

In religious societies that have issues with premarital sex or extramarital sex peope involved in multiple year divorce proceedings are at a disadvantage when it comes to establishing new relationships. That
applies theoretically to Orthodox Jews,Catholics and others.

Not every multiple year divorce is a situation of a recalcitrant spouse. Sometimes it does take a couple of years to get divorced.

Anyone stuck by a non cooperative spouse, or being denied a ghet by either refusing to give a ghet or by refusing to receive a ghet is in a tragic situation.

Just because it as taken 18 months or two years to finalize a divorce in Israel does not mean it is a situation of agun or a Agunah.

Catholics in Israel have it worse in away. Since the catholic church does not grant divorces. So the accepted practice of official converting to Greek Orthodox get divorced then re convert to Catholocism. And they Christian communities are generally content with that practice. And the Muslims as a rule have no problem going Muslim religious courts for divorce. Not everyone in Israel is Jewish and the minority communities as a rule even if the individual is highly religious don't have a problem and often prefer that their issues of personal status are handled accruing to their religions laws and customs.

Whoops should have reread it before posting.

For the most part the minority communities are content that issues of personal status Are handled by their religions ecclesiastic courts.

In Israel today either party may choose to have their finacial issues litigated in family court. It does not matter if a divorce was filed for in a ecclesiastical court first.

Michaeli is very intelligent, she's not just some feminazi off her leash. On the other hand, she lives in a leftist bubble. Her move to Jerusalem and direct involvement in politics will be good for her and the messages and activism in which she's involved.

Today, the plight of men in marriage in Israel is the harshest in any "Western country" (but who says we're a western country? we are indeed not in the western world), and there are far more men waiting for their wives to accept a get (the power of refusal having been given to them some time between the end of the Talmudic period and the begining of the Geonic period) than women waiting for their husbands to give them a get.

Yankel, every day in the USA for the last century Jews have been marrying either in Reform ceremonies or mixed faith ceremonies in cases where orthodox rabbinates would refuse to allow. These people are not bothered if the orthodox consider their issue Mamzerim or not Jewish as they do not expect their issue to be orthodox Jews. They marry for the rights and obligations imposed by civil law on spouses, not to fulfill some religious commandment.

Every so often I meet people who are of part Jewish descent. Outside of Israel, no such person is ever bothered about their halachic status because they do not need to be.

The situation in Israel is no different. They need to be bothered because the orthodox who control marriage are bothered.

If allowed civil marriage, most Israelis who would choose this marriage could not care less what the orthodox think and neither are their children likely to think otherwise. Why should Jews in Israel be denied what Jews elsewhere are allowed.

Why should religious Jews be given the opportunity of messing up the lives of the nonreligious.

shes HOT!

She's in her 40s and she doesn't wear make-up.

Strick Haredi religious have already separated themselves from the rest of the Jewish people. They would never marry are non-Orthodox or secular Jew even if that Jew converts to haredizm.

This means that Haredim had cut themselves off from the Jewish nation, but insist on ruling over it.

Haredim are not part of the Jews. They cannot marry a non-haredi Jew, they cannot eat at his/her house. They cannot be buried next to non-haredi Jew.

Michaeli is right. Stop it now. Cancel the rabbinate, which became a tool of opressiong in the hand of no longer Jewish haredim.

She's in her 40s and she doesn't wear make-up.

Posted by: Maskil | February 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Precisely. This makes her HOT ++.

Either she's wearing makeup in the photo or it has been retouched. Note the pink on the cheekbones. Note the thick, curled eyelashes, esp. the one on her left eye at the outer edge (reader's right side).

Yeah, the debate outlined here shows a lot of the difficulty in the Israeli political landscape. I, personally, would not use Haaretz as a single authoritative source to know what is going on in Israel. For starters my sample of Israeli friends told me it does not have wide readership in Israel ( and is not an Israeli version of the New York Times, as some might claim). Probably all news sources in Israel (and American news sources about Israel) engage in extensive advocacy journalism, so extra reading is necessary.

All else aside, refusing to play the rabbinate's game is a good way to reduce their grip on the non-Haredi population. Too bad there's no closer quasi-friendly place to wed than Cyprus, someplace driveable but that's a pipe dream.

Maybe what someone needs to do is set up a wedding cruise ship, non-Israeli registered, pick up a number of wedding parties, head out into international waters and conduct the weddings. Why not? Sounds like fun as long as the ship doesn't go the way of the Carnival Triumph and nobody becomes seasick.

>Maybe what someone needs to do is set up a wedding cruise ship, non-Israeli registered, pick up a number of wedding parties, head out into international waters

Speaking of international waters, in a parallel situation, the government has a tight grip on who can get a radio license. So Arutz Shevah used to broadcast from international waters. Of course, sometimes they would get lazy and broadcast from dock, and have their equipment seized. After some serious reprisals (which I think involved some jail time) they have ceased broadcasts, and only webcast (which is legal). I recall there were debates in the Knesset about this, with some MKs claiming that the license was refused to Arutz Shevah for political reasons. All a thing of the past now.

Thank you very much for stating Israel is not a western country. So many American Jews try to stamp their values and approach to life on what goes on in Israel, when Israel as a society us very different than America.

Despite haaretz being the bet online English version of a Israeli paper on line it is hardly the paper of record in Israel.


You are right about Amerian Jewery, in part.

The real shame is that American Conservative rabbis reject all those reform Jewish kids born to non Jewish mothers. You don't have to worry if Charedei Rabbis accept them as Jews.not even conservative rabbis do.

You can do whatever you want,but once you start messing around with issues of personal Jewish status then you create irrevocable consequences.

The reform movement kept on eating shrimp and pork,could have kept up the rejection of circumcision as declared in the Pittsburgh platform, could have kept on rejecting the need the concept of a Jewish homeland in Israel, could have continued to have main weekly service on Sunday a d all would have been good.

Once the reform movement instituted patrilineal descent as a legitimate form of being considered Jewish they created a permeant divide between themselves and the rest of Jewery. Smart move dontcha think?

Whoops too much percoset.

I have an Idea. Let the Haredim concern themselves with Haredim and not the rest of the populace in Israel. Yes, they can marry, divorce, procreate, and die if they please, but their pronouncements and way of life does not in the least effect the rest of Israeli society. Tell the chief rabbi that he has no more civil power, and he is off the state payroll. Tell the rest of them that Halacha be damned, everyday Jews just want to live their lives like Jews in the rest of the world without worry as to whom their great-great-grandma had carnal relations two centuries ago.

At the end of it, Israel has in effect made a silly superstitious minority into a ruling class that imposes their arbitrary and oftimes nonsensical rules on the majority. It is high time that this comes to an end. We are tired of hearing how THEY get to determine who is a Jew and who is not, and for that matter, they have denied many a Jew that has fought and worked for our people while these pigs sit back and make pronouncements.

Actually patrilineal descent is older than matrilineal. How else could Ephraim and Manasseh be the first Jewish kids born outside of the land?

I can't understand at all people who claim that this religion is biased towards the men. Perhaps it favors rabbi men, but regular old men, I don't think so.

According to halakha, an agunah is also released from her status if her husband is verifiably dead. I'm just sayin'...

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