In another major court victory, the High Court of Justice accepted the Rackman Center’s appeal and decided – once again – that the Grand Rabbinical Court must rule according to civil law in Israel on property matters. As such, it overturned the Grand Rabbinical Court’s decision and concluded that, in accordance with civil law, sexual infidelity between spouses should not be intermingled with the division of marital property upon separation.
This decision reinforces a similar decision we won last year. It further clarifies that the division of property between spouses at the time of separation will be done without regard to considerations of guilt, including sexual guilt, and it continues to require that the religious courts rule on such matters according to civil law. The Rackman Canter, which submitted the petition to the Supreme Court and represented the wife, together with attorney Anat Lavi Azoulai, welcomes the decision.
Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Founding Head of the Rackman Center:
“Today’s High Court of Justice decision sends a clear message to the religious courts about their duty to rule in accordance with civil law and judicial precedents on matters of property. We cannot, under any circumstance, agree to a reality in which women’s rights are tied to allegations of her intimate behavior. Further, in practice this punishment is only applied to women, not to men who are unfaithful. Therefore, we repeat our call to remove all property matters from the religious courts, thereby ensuring that both parties to the dispute receive the rights due to them by civil law.”
Attorney Shay Zilberberg, who represented the woman on behalf of the Rackman Center:
“This is the third time that the Rackman Center has represented petitions that dealt with punishments bestowed on women by the Rabbinical Court for allegations of sexual infidelity. We hope that there will not be a fourth time and that the High Court of Justice precedents will be correctly applied even within the walls of the rabbinical courts.”
Link to an interview with Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari on the issue (Hebrew).