For several years now, and most notably since the arrival of Corona into our world, Zoom meetings have become an inseparable part of our professional and personal lives.
The trend has also led to the less-enjoyable phenomenon of “Zoom slipups” where participants forget their microphones or cameras are on - mistakes that can range from funny to embarrassing, but on occasion to deeply damaging or life-changing.
One such example took place last week when a known get-refuser whose whereabouts had been left unknown had his location identified during a Zoom legal proceeding.
The story began several years ago in the US when S, an American citizen, met an Israeli man and the two decided to get married. Shortly after having a daughter, the husband became abusive and the marriage fell apart. They separated a year and half ago, and a legal battle ensued over visitation rights, with the husband refusing to give his wife a get unless she fully agreed to his demands. The husband soon thereafter fled without any indication of where he was headed.
While he continued to remain elusive and refused to disclose his location, the husband would routinely sign in to legal proceedings related to the case via Zoom. In the most recent online session, S was able to recognize that he was sitting in his sister’s home in the Israeli city of Petach Tikva.
Knowing that there was a short window of time before the man would realize that his location had been detected, S quickly called the ORA organization, which works in the USA on behalf of women suffering from get-abuse.
ORA reached out to the Yad La’isha Legal Aid Center, Ohr Torah Stone's Israel-based organization which provides legal representation and practical assistance to women being refused a divorce.
Adv. Tehila Cohen of Yad La’isha immediately took the matter to the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court, requesting a stay-of-exit order preventing the man from legally departing Israel.
With the assistance of Rabbi Yitzchak Nissan of the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court, by 11:00 PM that same day the order had been issued.
This quick action proved critical, as within hours the man arrived at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport with the goal of once again eluding discovery, but with the legal order in place, the airport’s border police successfully identified him and forbade his departure.
After the husband appealed the restraining order, claiming that he intended to issue the get and was only waiting for the approval of his visitation requests, the Rabbinical Court agreed to waive the stay-of-exit order.
Yad La’isha appealed their decision to the Rabbinical High Court, understanding that if S's husband was allowed to leave the country, all trace of him could once again be lost. In the High Court hearing, presiding rabbis Shapira, Igra and Amos agreed with Yad La’isha’s position that there must be no connection between issues of visitation and issuing the get.
The man relented and agreed to sign a legal order establishing that the get would be issued and accepted by a representative of S, who had remained in the US, finally bringing the case to closure. “The court approached this case with patience and understanding," said Yad La'isha's Adv. Cohen. “We made it very clear to the husband that we wouldn’t allow him to continue to extort S.”
“I’m deeply grateful to Yad La’isha for all their work and dedication in order to bring to an end this painful chapter that I’ve been forced to endure and literally change my very future,” S said. “There are no words to express the feelings of freedom that I’ve had since I was granted the get and able to get on with my life.”