(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A physically abusive husband who refused to grant his wife a divorce, tried to extort money from her in the divorce proceedings and absconded from legal proceedings, has finally agreed to the divorce, after being fired from his job and arrested for failing to appear before a rabbinical court.
The husband had refused for several years to accede to divorce proceedings and defied a rabbinical court ruling obligating him to grant his wife a divorce.
The legal representatives of the wife, Ilana – whose full name and the name of her husband cannot be disclosed – requested that the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court, which was handling the case, order the Egged bus company where the husband worked as a driver to fire him from his job, in accordance with legislation that revokes a person’s rights to be employed in a state-funded company, such as Egged.
Egged fired him last month, and after he failed to appear at a rabbinical court hearing a warrant was issued for his arrest.
He was eventually located by a private investigation firm hired by the wife’s legal representatives from the Yad La’isha Legal Aid Center and Hotline, and was subsequently arrested earlier this week by the police and put into detention.
On Tuesday, he was brought before the rabbinical court and finally agreed to give grant the divorce.
The couple in question, whose names cannot be disclosed, immigrated to Israel from India several years ago with their only child.
Even before they arrived, the husband had been violent towards his wife, and he continued his physical attacks on her and their child once they had immigrated as well, leading to police intervention on at least one occasion.
The woman filed for divorce three years ago, but her husband wanted to reconcile, so an agreement was reached to try this process – including a commitment by the husband to cease being violent toward his wife and child.
He failed to stand by this commitment. After another year of violent assaults by her husband, the woman left home and requested that divorce proceedings continue, proceedings which finally culminated on Tuesday.
“I can’t put my excitement in words. I’ve been emancipated, thanks to Yad La’isha – and today, I’m a free woman,” said the wife in a statement to the press.
“Without this support, I don’t know if I would have ever been free. You saved me from the life I was living, and thanks to you, I’m leaving this place with the belief that God will be with me.”
Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, president and educational head of the Ohr Torah Stone network of institutions to which Yad La’isha belongs, said that: “We are thrilled with the outcome in this case and delighted by Ilana’s happiness. We will continue to help other women like Ilana, while proactively seeking ways to prevent the agunah [‘chained’ woman] phenomenon.”
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