A Committee to appoint
new Rabbinical Judges
Currently 10 males are on the committee that appoints rabbinical judges. The committee is made up of: two Ministers, two MKs, the two Chief Rabbis, two Rabbinical Judges and two lawyers from the Bar Association. There used to be one woman from the Bar Association, however currently two men were chosen from the bar association despite a promise to include at least one woman.
This reality places women in a male-dominated environment at a crucial time that determines many factors in her life.
What steps are we taking to fix this situation?
The first step is to ensure that women are included in the selection committee for rabbinical judges.
The Rackman Center together with ICAR nominated Adv. Batsheva Sherman from the Bar Association for the selection committee and when she was not selected we joined with other organizations and submitted a High Court Appeal that women must be on the selection committee.
The High Court responded with an injunction order that stopped the process of selecting new rabbinical judges and ordered the Knesset to find a way to resolve this issue. The Knesset then accepted a law recommendation put together by ICAR and it passed through at the Committee of Ministers. However, the Shas party prevented it from getting further and then there were elections. We have since waited for the new Knesset that was elected in January, along with the appointment of a new Minister of Justice and are hoping to start the process again.
This is an appeal based on a case where a couple divorced ten years ago. At some point the husband told the Rabbinical Court that his (ex) wife had an affair during their marriage. Without her consultation this was noted in their records, the result of such a claim is that the women is forbidden to remarry her husband (Baalah) or the man she had an affair with (Baulah). Her son, now religious, discovered this and is concerned that it will affect his chances of marriage. We are appealing together with other organizations that this note be removed as it was not based
on anything the wife said and was irrelevant to their divorce. In addition we want to ensure that the Rabbinical Court has no right involve itself in the private lives of a couple unless it is brought up by the couple themselves.
Prison sentence extension
We petitioned the High Court (in collaboration with four other organizations) to give rabbinical courts the authority to extend the prison sentence of a husband who refuses to give the get for over 10 years in jail. In the case itself, 10 years have come to an end and her husband still refuses to give the get. We hope this appeal will allow for this man to remain in jail. We are waiting for a decision.
Child support from the social security institution when the father doesn’t pay: A child whose father doesn’t pay child support may address the social security institution. The Social Security will then pay the child on behalf of the father and then sue the father to return the money that he owes. This procedure is meant to spare women and children the need to take legal steps against a non-paying father and to ensure that children will always receive their child support as it is their constitutional right (as part of the rights for dignity and property). The problem with this procedure is that once the mother of the child makes minimum wage, the child is denied the right to receive the child support money from social security. We have filed a petition to challenge this rule on behalf of a child who lost her right for child support because her mother’s salary increased by 200 NIS a month.
The Race for Jurisdiction
This is possibly the number 1 problem
in family law. Rather than being able to
resolve a divorce amicably and outside
of the court there is a pressure on each spouse to ensure they submit the divorce to the court they want first, in order to get authority to deal with the
case there. This is a waste of resources, time and emotional stress. We won our particular case, where the couple spent many years fighting over who had authority to take on the case, and are only now dealing with the actual divorce. We hope this case demonstrates the absurdity of the current situation. We will continue to work hard to eliminate this problem.