Divorce (illustration)
Divorce (illustration) iStock

The number of Israeli couples divorcing dropped slightly in 2017, according to new data released by Israel's Rabbinate.

10,674 couples divorced in 2017, down slightly from 2016's 10,825. Tel Aviv's divorce rate dropped 7%, with 649 couples separating in 2017 compared with 701 in 2016. However, Jerusalem registered a sharp increase in the number of broken marriages with 788 in 2017 compared with 725 in 2016, an increase of 9%. Jerusalem also holds the record for the most amount of divorces in 2017.

The haredi city of Beitar Illit registered the fastest growing divorce rate by jumping 61% in one year alone, while Kiryat Malachi came in second with 41% growth.

The Rabbinate added that it meted out 228 legal sanctions to get refusers in 2017. Sacntions included refusing one to leave Isrfael and freezing bank accounts.

The data contradicts a 2016 study by the Central Bureau of Statistics which found a sharp increase in Israel's divorce rate. According to the survey, there is a steady increase in the percentage of divorcees in the population, rising from 2% in 1972 to 13% in 2014. The percentage of divorced couples are significantly higher in the Jewish population compared to the Arab population.

In age comparison, Muslim divorce rates decrease with age, while in the Jewish population, divorce rates remain fairly steady until the ages of 45-49, and then rates begin to decline.

The divorce rate stands at 8.8 per 1,000 married persons aged 15 and older in the general population. This rate varies between different religions and stands at 9.2 per 1,000 among the Jewish population, 7.9 among Muslims, 3.2 among Christians and 5.2 among Druze. In 1996, the divorce rate was 7.2 per 1,000.

Furthermore, the data highlights cities with more than 10,000 residents. The Jewish population in Eilat is characterized as having a high percentage of divorcees aged 35-64, while the city of Modi'in Illit is characterized as having a low percentage of divorcees in the same age range.