Israeli lawmaker: shame husbands who refuse divorce

family law

An Israeli lawmaker has proposed legislation which would publicly reveal the names of any husband who refuses to grant his wife a divorce.

Under Jewish law, a marriage can only be brought to an end if the husband agrees to issue his wife with a divorce document called a get. Until this has been granted his spouse is referred to as an agunah (chained woman) and is not allowed to remarry.

While the Rabbinical Courts can use various methods to convince husbands to relent, such as ostracizing them from their community, some in the country feel this is not enough. One such figure is Revital Swid, a Member of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) for the centre-left Zionist Union party.

Swid believes that women who have been “denied a divorce may as well be dead” as “their lives are behind bars created by their spouses”. She has therefore proposed to create a publicly accessible database which would feature the names and photographs of any man who refuses to grant his wife a get.

Her bill has the support of the Chief Rabbinate and the Rabbinical Courts, she claims, and represents “a significant step in exposing the ugly faces of those who refuse to give a get”.

This is not the first call for harsher punishment of stubborn husbands. Earlier this year Shuli Mualem, MK for orthodox Zionist party the Jewish Home (HaBayit HaYehudi) proposed a bill which would strip such men of certain religious rights.

Nor is this the first proposed public record for aspects of Jewish family life in Israel, as the country’s Ministry of Religious Services began work on a marriage database back in March. The supporters of this move claim it will help prevent bigamy.

Photo by israeltourism via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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1 comment

Andrew - October 11, 2017 at 12:33pm

The religious won’t do it.
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The non-religious won’t care.

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This is a sticking-plaster and no use to anyone.

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