The women’s rights organization Mavoi Satum said on Sunday that it has made
significant progress in ensuring the acceptance by the state of Halacha-
compliant prenuptial agreements.
Of late, the group has called on couples
to sign prenuptial agreements drawn up in accordance with Jewish law. These
agreements are designed to prevent one of the partners from refusing to give or
accept a get, or bill of divorce.
Without a get a woman cannot start a
new family according to Halacha, and in many hundreds of divorce cases, men
refuse to give their wives a get in order to extort more favorable terms in the
There are also cases in which women refuse to receive
a get, although the prevalence is lower.
The prenuptial agreement that
Mavoi Satum promotes stipulates that should either partner refuse to give or
accept a get, they will be forced to pay $1,500 or half their salary, whichever
is higher, every month until they accede to their spouse’s
Couples wishing to sign a prenuptial agreement must do so along
with the marriage registrar of the regional religious council where they
register for marriage.
Nevertheless, Mavoi Satum says that several
councils have refused to authorize the pre-nuptial agreement, despite the fact
that such documents are officially sanctioned by law.
In light of this
phenomenon, the organization issued a letter to the heads of regional religious
councils in which the registrar refused to authorize the document. The letter
was also sent to the Chief Rabbinate, Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi
and the legal adviser to the government to ask why its halachic pre-nuptial
agreement was being rejected.
The religious councils of Givat Shmuel and
Ra’anana, which are among those who have rejected prenuptial agreements, could
not be reached for comment. Their principle objection is most likely that,
should divorce be sought, the document might constitute a coerced get, because
of the monetary obligation incurred for infracting its terms.
get is invalid according to Halacha, and any children a woman would have in a
new marriage subsequent to receiving such a get would be deemed mamzerim, an
extremely debilitating personal status with Jewish law.
Staum’s complaint, the Religious Services Ministry formally accepted the
position of its legal adviser attorney Yisrael Pat that marriage registrars be
obligated by law to authorize and sign Mavoi Satum’s halachic pre-nuptial
The ministry added that it would send out a directive to all
regional religious councils informing them that they are obligated to authorize
“This is a real breakthrough and an important
achievement in advancing the use of halachic prenuptial agreements,” said Batya
Kehane-Dror, director of Mavoi Satum.
“The fact that the regional
religious councils will not create difficulties over authorizing this document
will encourage young couples to use such agreements and thereby ensure their
joint future with equality and mutual respect,” she said.
use of halachic prenuptial agreements is still in its infancy, Mavoi Satum hopes
that the decision to instruct the religious councils to accept their validity
will encourage more people to use them.
Kehane-Dror did however express
concerns that the rabbinic officials in religious councils will continue to
reject the prenuptial agreements.
In such an eventuality, Mavoi Satum
will petition the High Court of Justice to enforce their acceptance, she said.