Divorce (illustration)
Divorce (illustration) iStock

The Knesset's Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved a bill to amend the law regarding rabbinical courts' enforcement of divorce rulings.

The bill was brought forward by Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana (Yamina), who intends to bring it for its first reading in the Knesset plenum on March 16.

The new sanctions against divorce refusers would expand preventing including preventing them from using business and bank services, preventing them from using credit cards and other forms of payment, an option to issue a direct fine (not through a complex court process), the option to enforce isolation in unusual cases and immediately (without a waiting period of 30 days), the option to require "payment for forcing obedience" from the refuser for the benefit of the refused partner, and an option to create a "divorce refusers registry" which will be open to the general public.

In addition, a new sanction which would include social, economic, and religious distancing will be for the first time rooted in law. This decision was approved in the past by the Supreme Court, which gave the legal green light to act against divorce refusers in their community arenas.

"I thank the government ministers who approved the law," Kahana said. "Today, we made one more step of progress in our war against divorce refusal."

"I am happy that the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the rabbinical courts are joining hands to reduce the number of divorce refusal cases in Israel. Heavy sanctions against those who wish to harm the freedom of their spouses expands our basket of tools which will allow more effective war against this shameful phenomenon."