Haredi get refuser to be denied housing, rabbinical court rules

The Jerusalem Rabbinical Court ruled a man who denied his wife a get since 2018 should be denied housing in an unprecedented court ruling.

THE RABBINICAL Court’s Division for Agunot in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
THE RABBINICAL Court’s Division for Agunot in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Unprecedented housing sanctions were imposed on a get refuser by the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court last week following a legal battle against his estranged wife.

The court ruled the man, who has repeatedly refused his wife's requests for a get, a religious divorce agreement, since 2017, should be denied housing by any property owners - including his current landlords.

The couple were married in 2006 and had five children before separating in 2017, when divorce proceedings, which were largely ignored by the man, began.

Now, through the efforts of Yad La'isha Legal Aid Center, the court imposed a legal demand for the husband’s compliance and issued a series of sanctions against him upon his continued refusal.

Yad La'isha lawyer Dina Raitchik, who represented the wife in court, argued the nature of the man's refusal made it clear that "commonly used sanctions such as nullifying his driver’s license or even putting a hold on financial accounts - would have only a limited impact." In addition, the man did not possess a driving license and his bank accounts had already been frozen due to previous legal issues.

 PROTESTERS OUTSIDE the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court demand a woman’s right to receive a divorce from an abusive husband.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) PROTESTERS OUTSIDE the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court demand a woman’s right to receive a divorce from an abusive husband. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Due to the man being of the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sector, Raitchik preferred a more halachically-oriented approach, like refusal to accept him as part of a prayer quorum, or forbidding him from learning in public Torah-learning forums. However, those measures also had limited success.

Action has been taken in recent years against get refusers. In 2021, the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court ruled that lawyers who act to prevent the giving of a get and harm divorce proceedings can be slapped with sanctions.

Earlier in 2021, the Ashkelon Rabbinical Court approved the release of the personal information to shame get refusers.