An Egged bus in front of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The couple in question, whose names cannot be disclosed, immigrated to Israel from India several years ago with their only child.
Even before they came to Israel, 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.
Three years ago, the woman filed for divorce 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 towards his wife and child.
He failed to stand by this commitment, and after another year of violent assaults by the husband, the woman left home and requested that divorce proceedings continue.
The rabbinical court issued a decision obligating the husband to grant a divorce but he refused to accede to the court’s decision, requested further reconciliation efforts, and said he would only agree to a divorce if his wife would renounce her rights to the couple’s shared property.
The woman’s legal representative, Attorney and Rabbinical Courts Advocate Tehilla Cohen of the Yad L’Isha – a women’s rights group – subsequently sought to implement a law which negates a person’s rights to be employed in a state-funded company.
Following a legal request Cohen made to the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court
, the rabbinical judges adjudicating the case headed by Rabbi Uriel Lavie ruled on Thursday to implement this law and instructed Egged to fire the husband within 30 days.
“She is an impressive woman who – after the violence she has experienced – deserves, like everyone, to live a peaceful and happy life,” said Cohen.
“We won’t rest and won’t be silent until she gains her freedom and leaves with her son for a new and good life.”
Pnina Omer, director of Yad L’Isha, an Ohr Torah Stone institution, said that “creative solutions” against divorce refusers “give great hope to women that there are ways to free them from the imprisonment of divorce recalcitrance.”
A spokesman for Egged said in response, “I do not respond to rabbinical rulings.”