Court Rules: Husband and Wife are Equally Disbelieved

A significant court ruling may herald a new age: No longer is a husband accused of domestic violence considered guilty until proven innocent.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 14:28

Court rules
Court rules
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A significant ruling handed down in the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court last week may herald a new age: No longer is a husband accused of domestic violence considered guilty until proven innocent - and both husband and wife are equally disbelieved.

The case, cited by legal affairs correspondent Yair Shapira in the weekly B’Sheva newspaper, involved a woman who accused her husband of pushing and hitting her, and of destroying property in her home. The man was arrested, and claimed that it was actually he who was victimized by her violence, and showed scratch marks on his arm to prove it; she said she was merely protecting herself.
"Ever since Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of attempting to rape her, the Jewish people have been aware that while women deserve the utmost protection from men, they can also abuse that protection in an evil way," responded activist Gil Ronen.

It appeared to be a classic case of his word against hers, on the face of it – in which event, the normal practice is not to charge either side. However, former State Prosecutor Edna Arbel instituted a practice whereby cases of domestic violence are an exception, and that if a husband is accused, he is put on trial and left to prove his innocence.

In the case at hand, after the man was arrested and sat in prison, evidence in his favor was produced, forcing the woman to withdraw her complaint and admit that he had never hit her.

The man did not take his “victory” easily, and sued the State for compensation for having been tried and incarcerated. Judge Shmuel Landman found that, in fact, there had been no cause for indictment and that the man deserves compensation. The judge found that any time a person is put on trial in a “one man’s word against another” case without other evidence having been considered, the defendant has been wronged and must be compensated.

Gil Ronen, a long-time family values activist and head of the Familism organization welcomed the ruling: "Ever since Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of attempting to rape her, the Jewish people have been aware that while women deserve the utmost protection from men, they can also abuse that protection in an evil way. The judge's ruling states a very simple truth, and we can only hope that the police will get the message and begin cracking down on false accusations against men. While some complaints reflect real cases of violence against women that need to be punished severely, many others are ploys intended to put the man on the defensive in an aggressive divorce struggle. The law enforcement officers must be proactive in attempting to tell the difference between the two."