Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: The Case of Jewish Divorce and Gett-Abuse – Prof. Ruth Halperin Kaddari’s lecture to the international Beit Din.

In Israel, divorce negotiations take place in the shadow of the Jewish law. A law which gives one party the ultimate power to veto the divorce, while creating a much more pressing need for it by the other party. The validity of the Jewish divorce (the gett) is preconditioned on the husband’s free will while the wife is strictly prohibited from entering into extra-marital relations. These power relations are reflected throughout the negotiations and their outcomes. A particularly grave and painful manifestation of this biased legal construct is the phenomenon of women who are unable to leave their marriages, the agunot and mesoravot-gett.

In her lecture, prof. Halperin-Kaddari describes the preconditions under which a divorce “agreement” is achieved even prior to the couples’ appearance at Beit Hadin, the relation between gett-abuse and domestic violence and biased divorce settlements that are harmful for women.

The lecture was produced by

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