Sanctions for get refusers to be increased

The Knesset approved a law implementing additional sanctions against men who refuse to grant wives a get (halakhic divorce).

Yoel Domb ,

Divorce (illustration)
Divorce (illustration)

The Knesset approved a number of amendments to the Rabbinical Courts Law submitted by MK Shuli Mualem-Raphaeli (Jewish Home). The new regulations will broaden the authority of the Rabbinic Court judges to place sanctions on those who refuse to give their wives a get (halakhic divorce).

In Jewish law, only the husband can grant a divorce.

Get refusers will be forced to wear prison clothes as opposed to the present situation where those sent by the Rabbinical Court to jail are allowed to wear civilian clothes. They will also be barred from staying in the religious wing of the jail or maintaining Jewish study and ritual materials in their cells. Additionally they will not be able to receive food with a more stringent kashrut supervision.

The Rabbinical Court management and Chief Rabbi David Lau support these measures in an attempt to provide additional tools to the courts in their fight for agunot (literally," bound women", women tied to a marriage because they have not received a get, ed.).

"Every day we are working to combat get refusers. This is one more step in the long struggle where each woman is a world on her own. The keys to leaving jail and being released from the court's sanctions lie with the refuser himself. If he releases his wife from her chains, he will be able to return to normal life. If he chooses to use halakhic demands as a way to ease his stay in jail, this must be denied to him. One who belittles the law of the Torah, the rabbinic judges and the basic value of loving one's neighbor like oneself, cannot benefit from the privileges allowed to traditional prisoners," said Mualem.

The director-general of the Rabbinical Courts, Shimon Yaakobi, added that "the goal of the law is to increase pressure on the jailed get refusers. This is a significant step in the struggle of the courts against the get refusers. Congratulations to MK Mualem for completing the legislation."