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April 14, 2013

High Court Issues Groundbreaking Ruling To Punish Get Refusers

Scales_of_justice low resThe decision was made as part of an affair involving a woman who was abandoned by her husband about 12 years ago: A couple with four children immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union. The woman converted to Judaism and joined the Chabad Hasidic movement, and in 1995 the couple began divorce proceedings on the backdrop of physical violence against the woman.

 

Ynet reports that the High Court of Justice issued what is being called a groundbreaking ruling that allows state rabbinical courts to imprison men who refuse to give their wife a get (Jewish divorce) for an unlimited amount of time by combining sentences for various crimes committed in the get refusal, including contempt of court.

Prior to this ruling, the most the state rabbinical courts could do was imprison a get refuser for ten years.

Ynet describes how the ruling came to be:

…The decision was made as part of an affair involving a woman who was abandoned by her husband about 12 years ago: A couple with four children immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union. The woman converted to Judaism and joined the Chabad Hasidic movement, and in 1995 the couple began divorce proceedings on the backdrop of physical violence against the woman.
 
In 2000, the district rabbinical court decided that the man must grant his wife a divorce immediately. The husband refused, and was jailed for different periods of time, one of them for 10 years, according to the Rabbinical Courts Jurisdiction Law (Upholding Divorce Rulings), which permits the imprisonment of a divorce recalcitrant for up to a decade.
 
When the 10 years of his confinement were about to end, the woman requested the court to jail him for a longer period of time, by the power of a law authorizing the court to charge him with contempt of court.
 
The district rabbinical court accepted the request in June 2011, ruling that upon the end of his imprisonment, the husband would be jailed for an unlimited period of time until he agreed to grant his wife a divorce.
 
In accordance with the law, the court's decision was submitted for the approval of then-Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish, who confirmed the district court's ruling. A petition filed by the husband with the Great Rabbinical Court was dismissed.

Last year, the husband petitioned the Supreme Court, claiming that the rabbinical court was unauthorized to order his arrest by charging him with contempt of court, as the Rabbinical Courts Jurisdiction Law (Upholding Divorce Rulings) was the only tool that could be used by the courts when dealing with divorce issues.
 
The husband added that the court could only jail him for up to 10 years, as permitted by the Rabbinical Courts Jurisdiction Law (Upholding Divorce Rulings).…

His long-suffering wife filed a counter petition with the High Court that was joined by several women's groups.

The court found for her, pointing out that the law's intent was not to limit the punishment of get refusers – it was to increase the punishment of get refusers. This means the recalcitrant husband can be locked away in prison indefinitely – until he gives his wife her divorce.

Comments

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So this guy has sat in jail for 10 years rather than giving a get? Bizarre.

So taxpayers' money is now to be wasted jailing people over religious nonsense? Doesn't Israel offer civil divorce?

I never understood female problems with Jewish divorces. If you abide by religious crap you need to own it and suffer the consequences of said crap. Or else LEAVE and get a civil divorce. The opportunities are out there to be free and live unshackled by religious dogma.

@ Apostate

I never understood it either.

Apostate must not follow this blog "religiously" or he would know that there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce in Israel.

Even if there were (and there ought to be, for several reasons that are off-topic) it wouldn't help religious women who are refused gittin. The solution to that is to make unreasonable refusal to give or receive (let's make it as egalitarian as Halacha allows) a get a capital crime.

"...I never understood female problems with Jewish divorces. If you abide by religious crap you need to own it and suffer the consequences of said crap. Or else LEAVE and get a civil divorce. The opportunities are out there to be free and live unshackled by religious dogma....."

That's a naive statement if ever there was one. Why should the woman be forced to leave the community and any future children be considered mamzerim by that same community? Why should it all be on her? What if for reasons of her own she wishes to remain Orthodox or Haredi or whatever? Perhaps her she and her children would like to be allowed to see their relatives instead of being cut off. Easy for you to say 'just leave" but the reality is otherwise. These get-refusing men should have their rights to refuse terminated by whatever religious court has authority and be done with it. Haredi societal norms are pathological however for a mother with children who have never known anything else leaving would be additionally traumatic, on top of the trauma of the bad marriage and the divorce.

@S M L

It's all just made up stuff.

("D-I-V-O-R-C-E", Tammy Wynette)

I’ve tried to quit this marriage for ten years now, I’ve taken all I can
I became a convert because I love this land, but its rules I don’t understand
Like different rules for Sephardim or maybe Ashkenazi
But the G-E-T he’s keeping from me now
Tears the heart right out of me

Our D-I-V-O-R-C-E happened twelve years ago
But he won’t give me my G-E-T , it has been quite a blow
I hate him lots and he should go to H-E double L quickly
Please please you must give me my D-I-V-O-R-C-E

The high court says he must give me this religious decree
He thumbed his nose at the beit din, on that we all agree
It’s just a few important words
So my kids won’t be momzers
I wish that he would sign it now
And bring this to closure

Our D-I-V-O-R-C-E happened twelve years ago
But he won’t give me my G-E-T , it has been quite a blow
I hate him lots and he should go to H-E double L quickly
Please please you must give me my D-I-V-O-R-C-E

@AE,

you don't know religious ppl , i can tell.
yes, they rather go to jail for 10 years rather than giving a divorce , bc they are vicious . it sounds crazy , but that's the way religious ppl are .

The problem for the religious community is their refusal to amend the religious marriage contract to resolve the problem of the recalcitrant husband and to make the revised contract mandatory. As Blu Greenberg has been saying for decades, when there is a rabbinic will, there is a halachic way. But this is obviously not a priority for them.

from reading this article it seems that only SHE converted to Chabad. He is NOT religious. This shows the hatred of the not religious to the religious. For the want of giving a measly piece of paper to this poor charedi woman, he would rather be in jail for already OVER 10 years.

I hope they also punish women who pretend to be Agunot when they don't even have open files in the rabbinute but threaten, harass and harm everyone in their lying path.

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