ISRAEL: The film "GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem" shows how Israeli divorce laws discriminates against women

Have you heard about this film, “GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem”? This film received decent reviews at the 2014 Cannes Film festival. According to, I believe the Hollywood Reporter:

This third instalment in the trilogy on Israeli women by actress Ronit Elkabetz and her brother Shlomi delivers everything a film should: as Ronit said, speaking from the stage of the Théâtre Croisette, the film shows something that has never been shown before (the inside of a Rabbi tribunal, in front of which Viviane Amsalem, played by the director, seeks to ask for a divorce – in Hebrew “gett“), causes laughter (unexpectedly), surprises at every corner and gives the viewer moments of suspense. And especially, this film, slowly but surely, manages to plunge spectators into the unsustainable situation in which Viviane is, as she extracts herself from it – indignant – more conscious than ever of a social and religious problem that touches the very heart of fundamental women’s rights.

This issue of the right to divorce being one of the fundamental human rights is very important. Very few people write about this topic or even recognize the right to divorce as being a fundamental right to freedom, and certainly, in a democratic society like Israel, it is surprising if not disturbing that this type of archaic law is still on the books whereby only a man can grant a woman her freedom; only the husband can give the GETT. It is also a little bit “absurd” in this day and age. According to the Reporter:

The absurdity of the situation is told through the humorous testimonies offered up during these moments, delivered by funny characters with a unique Jewish sense of humour. The contradictions are expressed through the words of the brother, the comic tendencies of the Rabbi brother-in-law and everyone’s ability to say one thing and the complete opposite within the same sentence. The trial could continue forever without reaching any kind of conclusion. The desperate situation drags on, month after month without any progress. Months that are added on to 30 years of unhappy marriage (at the end, the viewer understands that the divorce request is tied to a long moment of agony that ended as the trial began). Viviane’s suffering becomes increasingly evident until she screams repeatedly: “I want my freedom! I want my freedom!”

The movie may not have won the biggest prizes but it certainly touches upon a very important issue in our day. In Israel as well as in the United States it seems that women need to form a sisterhood of resistance to these types of laws that keep them chained, helpless at the hands of men. The right to divorce, like the right to marry is a fundamental right. No woman should have to suffer the indignity of being imprisoned against her will in a marriage.