ISRAEL: Orthodox women fight for divorce equality

orthodoxDo Orthodox women in Israel need their husband’s permission to get a divorce in the rabbinical courts? It seems so. But that is probably true right here in New York, which is why there is a requirement that the spouses sign a GET so that there is no barrier to remarriage. The Beth Din would bascially convene and make a determination if the marriage can be divorced. Some spouses can prevent their New York spouse from remarriage by refusing to give the GET (presumably both husbands and wives). In such a case, the rabbinical courts could not grant a divorce here in New York. And the civil divorce would be void pretty much. No, the civil divorce would not be void. The parties can remarry civilly but would not be able to get a rabbinical divorce. Sometimes, the courts can force the party’s hand by awarding more spousal support and alimony to a spouse who refuses to give their spouse a GET. Monetary pressure can sometimes help to sway a bad-acting spouse.
But the story seems a bit more intense over in Israel where husbands seem to have the upper hand (as is true in certain Muslim countries!) in preventing their wives from getting a divorce in the rabbinical courts at all, without repercussions. Apparently, and correct me if I am wrong, but husbands have to consent to the divorce for an orthodox Jewish woman to be able to get out of the marriage. And there is no pressure that is applied in this circumstance, except that the woman/wife becomes public enemy number one and is ostracized by her community when the marriage fails. But these women in Orthodox society in Israel are slowly starting to protest for divorce equality. And it’s about time.
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