MK Yoav Kisch
MK Yoav KischMiriam Alster/Flash90

In a meeting held by the Knesset Special Committee for Distributive Justice and Social Equality, Likud MK Yoav Kisch connected the trend of libelous complaints to the high number of suicides among divorced men.

"I've heard that lawyers, when they have a woman who wants to divorce, will often tell their client to claim that their partners hit them or harmed the children," Kisch said. "This means the lawyers are doing something illegal. And I understand them, they want the best for their client."

"But on the other hand, if it turns out to be a false claim, nothing happens. What does it matter? She doesn't lose anything. But now her partner will be distanced from his children, or he'll be jailed, and it will become more difficult for him to fight her in court.

"By the way, that's what the women's organizations who aren't here right now told us. They didn't say that libelous complaints were justified. They said - if you take this ability [to make libelous complaints] from women, how will women protect themselves?"

"It's a free pass"

"Let's look at how we can retain gender equality," Kisch said. "A man is not allowed to harm a woman without reason, and a man cannot refuse to cancel visitations - if he doesn't observe the set visitation schedule, he pays a price."

"A man, if he hits someone, should go to jail. That's obvious - and that's not what we're talking about.

"We're talking about an absurd situation which is against the law. This is something lawyers suggest to their clients, because it's a freebie. There's no consequence. All it will do is ruin the other party's life.

"If it was just a matter of money, fine. People can deal with money.

"But why do divorced fathers commit suicide? Because they're not allowed to see their children. Because the authorities are putting perfectly normal, perfectly good men in jail.

"I get dozens or hundreds of complaints from reservists who say, 'I wander around with a weapon during reserve duty. Now I'm getting divorced, and suddenly they put my in jail. Suddenly I'm not responsible. Suddenly I can't talk to my children. And it takes a year to a year and a half, until all the court proceedings are finished, for them to realize it was a libelous complaint and close the case.'

"'But who pays the price for the year and a half I wasn't in touch with my child? The child, or children. They pay the price. Why? Because the lawyer told my partner that this is the best way to rip me apart.' And that's exactly what happens to them."

In Israel, divorced men commit suicide at a rate seven times higher than their married counterparts. And despite popular beliefs otherwise, experts have known for fifty years that in every sector of society, the rates of violence perpetrated by women against men are similar to those of men against women.