Daily Israel Report

9% Rise in Jewish Divorce Requests in 2012

88,000 divorce files opened in Rabbinical Courts in 2012, up from less than 81,000 in 2011.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/29/2013, 10:16 AM

Rabbinical Court
Rabbinical Court
Flash 90

The Jewish divorce rate rose by a full 5% last year, according to statistics from the Rabbinical Courts, while the number of divorce files opened rose by an astounding 9%.

A total of 10,694 couples divorced through the Rabbinical Courts in 2012, up from 10,210 in 2011. Various statistical measures indicate that there has been a steady rise in the divorce rate in Israel since the 1970s, from about 10% to over 40%. Ten years ago, the number of couples that divorced in the Rabbinical Courts was 9,368.

Tel Aviv leads Israel in the total number of divorces, with 711 divorces in 2012. Jerusalem was second with 705, followed by Rishon Letzion with 488. Afula was at the bottom of the list with just 80 divorces. These are absolute numbers, not rates; they do not compare the number of divorces with the cities' population.

In the course of 2012, a total of 88,055 files were opened in the Rabbinical Courts, compared with 80,636 in 2011. This is a huge 9% rise.

The average time for finalizing a divorce file stands at 106 days.

The numbers do not include divorces by non-Jewish couples, which are carried out through Family Courts or those of the Muslim or Christian religions.

The statistics provide positive news on the agunot front. There was a rise of 168% in the number of women granted a get, or divorce decree, after their husbands disappeared in Israel or abroad. A total of 163 agunot received gets, compared with 97 in 2011.  

There have also been more sanctions against recalcitrant husbands who refuse to grant a get. Sixty such verdicts were granted in 2012, compared with 41 in 2011. The sanctions include arrest orders, orders preventing the husbands from leaving the country, rescinding the right to own a bank account and more.

Twenty arrest orders were given against recalcitrant husbands, compared with 13 in 2011. Three private investigator firms were hired to find get refusers in Israel and abroad. A total of 156 protection orders were granted to women, compared with 81 last year.

The statistics make no mention of a study conducted by the Courts when Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Dahan served as Director, which found that there are more women in the category of get refusers than men.