Last week on Ta’anit Esther we marked Aguna Day.
Aguna Day is an initiative of ICAR – the International Coalition for Aguna Rights, of which the Rackman Center is a member.
- In the Halakhic marital system a man has absolute power over a woman’s freedom.
- Men have the exclusive right to give a Get and women are at their mercy and may sometimes find themselves exposed to pressure and blackmail by those who abuse the law.
- Get refusal is a form of violence against women.
Recognizing Get refusal as abuse was first recognized last month by a court in England. For the first time, a husband refusing to give his wife a Get was convicted of domineering behavior. This was a couple who, in 2019, received a civil divorce from the family court but the husband refused to grant a Get. Without a Gett, the woman is not free to remarry in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony even if there was a civil divorce.
The man confessed to compulsive domineering behavior over a period of more than five years, commencing in January 2016. According to the indictment, the husband threatened the wife with violence, radically controlled her finances, opposed any financial arrangement for separation proposed by the family court and, as stated, refused give her a Get.
The court accepted the woman’s argument that refusing to grant a Get is a severe restriction of her liberty and that it is a behavior designed to control her and undermine her by forcing the continuation of the relationship against her will and preventing her from remarrying.
Divorce refusal is a form of violence against women. A court in England recognized it last month.
We continue to work to eradicate the phenomenon of Get refusal so that all Jewish women, in Israel and around the world, can freely choose to end a marriage without being restricted against her will.