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Monday, June 25, 2018 

Significant victories for "chained" wives

Here's a thankful ruling by a special court on the marriage status of "chained" women whose husbands wouldn't grant them a "get":
In a groundbreaking development for divorce rights in Israel, Tzviya Gorodetsky, who has sought a divorce from her husband for 23 years, has been freed from her marriage by a private, ad hoc Orthodox rabbinical court headed by respected Orthodox rabbi and talmudist Rabbi Daniel Sperber.

The ruling could pave the way for more such women to avail themselves of private rabbinical courts, if they believe that they have no chance of ever escaping their failed marriages. It follows other attempts to bypass established religious institutions in such realms as conversion, kashrut and marriage.

A similar ruling by another such ad hoc court was issued in 2013.

The Chief Rabbinate is certain to reject the validity of the divorce, but Gorodetsky could likely remarry in a private Orthodox ceremony if she so wished.

Gorodetsky, 54, was married to her husband for nine years and had four children with him before eventually requesting a divorce in 1995 due to his violent and abusive behavior towards her, which included beating her while she was pregnant so that she miscarried and throwing acid on her.

He steadfastly refused to grant a bill of divorce even after being ordered by the State Rabbinical Court to so
. This led the court to eventually jail him; he has been sitting in prison for the last 18 years, unmoved in his determination never to grant his wife a divorce.
If the chief rabbinate even dares to rear their ugly head and shun the ruling, they'll only prove they consider gender bigotry more important than justice, so I'd suggest they keep their mouths shut. The private court did the right thing, making God proud for defending an innocent woman from the shame her husband put her through, as he even packed a suitcase and was willing to sit in prison for the rest of his life just to spite a woman he'd assaulted. For that, he should have been jailed regardless, as spousal abuse is a felony, after all. Is he ultra-Orthodox? If so, he's not only given his kind a bad name, much like the men in the rabbinate itself today, he's even demonstrated how there's quite a few Haredis out there willing to trash their lives all for the sake of twisted beliefs and lack of caring about life itself.

And, in a more recent case of another woman whose husband fled rather than grant one, another court nullified the marriage:
In an extremely rare move, an official rabbinic court annulled the marriage of a Jewish Israeli woman whose husband has refused to grant her a religious bill of divorce for the past five years, the court announced Monday.

Two years ago, Oded Guez fled the country using a forged passport to escape the sanctions and public shaming the rabbinic court had ordered against him for refusing to grant his wife a get, or religious divorce.

On Monday, a Haifa rabbinical court said it had found a legal way to allow Guez’s wife, who has not been named, to remarry, even without receiving a bill of divorce.

“After intensive discussions, during which the court heard testimony and professional opinions and evaluations, and after great effort by the court, it was decided today to nullify the marriage and to allow Mrs. Guez to end her status as a ‘chained woman,'” the court said in a statement. “This means that Mrs. Guez’s status is like that of a single woman who has never married.”

The court said that the details of the legal mechanism by which it nullified the marriage was confidential.

“I am pleased that one of the most difficult ‘chained wife’ case that the court has dealt with has come to an end,” said Rabbi David Malka, director of the government appointed Rabbinical Courts. “This demonstrates once again that the court takes all the measures at its disposal — both operational and within Jewish law, and leaves no stone unturned in its huge efforts to bring relief to all chained women in the State of Israel.”

Guez is currently awaiting extradition to Israel from Belgium, where he was captured after a manhunt across several European countries, after the rabbinic court found he had committed a criminal offense.
It's stunning how the whole approach to marriage/divorce here has led to a culture of selfish spouses who're even willing to break the law to spite their wedding partners. This is precisely why the law has to be changed so that religion and state are made separate. For now, these woman are lucky.

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