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Thursday, June 13, 2013 

Law approved to allow women on rabbinical judge council

An improvement's been made, one the Haredi parties vehemently opposed in all their inability to recognize modernity:
A bill to reserve four spots on the committee that appoints rabbinical judges for women was passed into law in the early hours of Tuesday morning, but not before haredi MKs repeatedly stalled the legislative process due to their vehement opposition to the terms of measure.

Every single MK of the haredi parties, numbering 19 in total, filed procedural reservations to the bill, with several of those members using the full 30 minutes of debate time allocated for every reservation to stall the passage of the law. The bill finally passed its second and third readings (final) at 4 a.m.

In addition to the four spots it reserves for women, the law will also expand the panel from 10 to 11 members, with the extra member being a qualified female rabbinical courts advocate.

The law means that at least one of government delegates to the panel, one of the Knesset delegates and one of the Israel Bar Association delegates will be a woman. The rabbinical courts advocate will be the fourth female member.

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) – one of the architects of the law, along with Bayit Yehudi’s Shuli Muallem and Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On – said that she had fulfilled one of her promises upon being elected to the Knesset with the passage of the law.

“Four women on the committee for appointing rabbinical judges is the beginning [of a process] to rectify the discrimination against women that exists today in the rabbinical courts system,” Lavie said after the law was passed.

“The mixed variety of committee members will lead to the appointment of more moderate and attentive rabbinical judges, who are more involved in the Israeli society of 2013,” the Yesh Atid MK said.

Gal-On said that the law corrected the “skewed reality in which only men make decisions on issues that relate principally on the lives of women.”

Women’s rights activists see the committee as a crucial forum to advance women’s divorce rights since they believe that the appointment of more moderate rabbinical judges will lead to greater protection for women from extortion in divorce proceedings, which forms a large part of the work of the rabbinical courts system.

“The rabbinical courts are controlled today by reactionary rabbis, all of whom are men, with a proven record of discrimination against women, the extortion of women whose husbands refuse to grant a bill of divorce and a disregard for property law,” Gal-On added.
Though Gal-On a leftist be, there is some truth to what she says: there are judges out there who've let corruption prevail, and even allowed some disgraceful husbands who refuse to grant a divorce agreement to get away with their offenses. Hence, this approval of the law is a vital step for this country moving forward. A pity the Haredi parties have to be so backwards, and so disrespectful of the memory of biblical Deborah.

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