Women’s groups question divorce statistics released by rabbinical courts

Issues surround sanctions against recalcitrant husbands.

By
June 22, 2017 02:01
2 minute read.
The Rabbinical Court of Tel Aviv

The Rabbinical Court of Tel Aviv. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Several women’s rights groups have accused the rabbinical courts of obfuscating the severity of divorce recalcitrance for women in the statistics it released this week.

The Center for Women’s Justice took particular issue with one statistic which stated that a Rabbinical Courts Administration’s special unit obtained as many as 211 halachic bills of divorce (gets) for women whose husbands have fled the country in 2016.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Center for Women’s Justice attorney Nitzan Caspi Shilony expressed skepticism that the unit could obtain such a high number of divorces in one year, arguing that if one took into account non-work days such as Fridays, Sabbaths, Jewish holidays and other national holidays, the special unit would have freed one aguna (“chained woman”) for almost every day of the year it was operating.

Caspi Shilony also questioned the claims of the Rabbinical Courts Administration that the rabbinical courts issued 205 rulings imposing punitive sanctions on 47 recalcitrant husbands in 2016.

She noted that the sanctions rulings included a broad range of possible punitive measures, including very mild ones such as preventing a man from leaving the country while refusing to grant a divorce, something which can be obtained relatively easily and even before a ruling has been made by the rabbinical court.

Indeed, the Rabbinical Courts Administration statistics themselves showed that there were only nine instances in which a jail sentence for recalcitrance was used.

Attorney Batya Kehana-Dror, director of the Mavoi Satum organization, noted that the number of spouses who were subject to sanctions, 36, was extremely low compared to the probable number of husbands who refused to give a divorce.



Statistics published by the Rabbinical Courts in February showed that there were 143 cases in which a husband refused to grant a divorce to his wife in 2016, meaning that the 36 who faced sanctions represented 25% of recalcitrant husbands.

Women’s rights groups claim that the true number is much higher; however, since a husband is only considered recalcitrant if the rabbinical court has already issued a ruling obligating him to give a divorce, and it can take many years for the courts to issue such rulings.

Penina Omer, director of the Yad L’Isha group, part of the Ohr Torah Stone network of institutions, said that the data provided omitted crucial statistics such as the total number of women who are currently being denied a divorce by their husbands.

Related Content

July 16, 2018
Netanyahu decries security cabinet leaks

By GIL HOFFMAN