A man who has been refusing his wife a get (Jewish divorce document) for the past four years granted her a divorce after he was apprehended at a coronavirus lockdown checkpoint. The man was arrested and, after spending one night in jail, agreed to grant the woman a get.
A warrant was issued for the man's arrest five weeks ago after repeated refusals to grant the get and his information was given to Israel Police. Hearing about the warrant, the man left his home and evaded authorities until he was stopped at a coronavirus checkpoint outside of Modi'in, where he was taken into custody after showing his identification to officers manning the checkpoint.
The woman first filed for divorce from her husband four years ago, but in 2018 he refused to honor the divorce agreement and has since refused to abide by other agreements that were proposed.
Ohr Torah Stone Yad La'isha Legal Aid advocated on behalf of the woman pushed to force the husband to give the woman a get.
"The get has become a halachically endorsed tool that can be abused to extort, control and threaten a spouse. We can't continue to watch this happen. I take this opportunity to once again turn to the relevant leaders to take responsibility and find halachic solutions that will address agunot and get-refusers. We have a moral responsibility towards our fellow Jewish women that they not be abandoned to suffer and be held hostage," said Pnina Omer, Director of Ohr Torah Stone's Yad La’isha.
Upon hearing she had received a get, the woman said that she had "no words to express my gratitude to God and to his remarkable messengers from Yad La’isha and in particular the incredible Adv. Tehila Cohen." She went on to say that "for the past four years I have been trapped," and thanked the Rabbinical Court for working on Sukkot to help secure the get.
According to Rabbinate records, there are at least 400 women who have been refused a get in Israel but the real number is impossible to know, according to The Jerusalem Post's sister publication Maariv.
If no progress has been made in a case in a year, it will be marked as closed, meaning that there could be many cases in which no progress has been made, and so a women who is refused a get will not be counted in Rabbinate records.