Divorces in Israel surpass 10,000 a year for first time

Divorce rate up 4.7% compared to 2007; number of divorces rises in large cities.

divorce 88 (photo credit: )
divorce 88
(photo credit: )
Divorces have gone into the five digits for the first time in Israel's history, with 10,225 Jewish couples divorced in 2008, up 4.7 percent compared to 2007. Since 2003 the number of divorces has gradually risen from 9,368. In large cities the number of divorces rose more than the national average. In Jerusalem there was a 9.7% rise in divorces, while in Tel Aviv there was a 7.1% rise and in Haifa a 13% increase. One of the highest rises was in Modi'in - 24%. The figures were released Sunday by the Rabbinical Court Administration. According to Jewish law, both husband and wife must give consent to divorce. However, the law is more stringent regarding the wife, who cannot remarry under any circumstances until her husband give a get [divorce writ]. In Israel there is no separation between religion and state and all Jews get married in accordance with Halacha, although civil marriages from abroad are recognized. The rabbinical courts are empowered by law to impose sanctions to coerce one of the sides, usually the husband, to give a get. These sanctions include blocking exit from the country, freezing bank accounts, preventing appointments in state institutions, halting welfare payments and suspending drivers licenses. The courts also can enlist the help of private investigators and can send representatives abroad to track down intransigent husbands who refuse to grant their wives a divorce. A total of 130 husbands who left Israel without granting their wives a divorce were located. In all a total of 73 men were sanctioned by the court. Another 20 were imprisoned. In 66 cases the court issued restraining orders against violent husbands.