In his capacity representing the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt has called on Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to legislate laws permitting sanctions against recalcitrant husbands from Europe who flee to Israel. Rabbi Goldschmidt also serves as the Chief Rabbi of Moscow and in other public positions.
A bill has been formulated by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the CER submitted in the 19th Knesset, by MK (Shas) Avraham Michaeli, has been introduced again in the current 20th Knesset by MK (Shas) Yaakov Margi, MK (Yesh Atid) Aliza Lavie and MK (Bayit Yehudi) Yinon Magal. The bill permits implementing sanctions against a husband refusing to give a bill of divorce as his actions would be a violation of Israel’s penal code. Hence such a person would no longer seek to flee to Israel for he would face stiffer sanctions than in Europe.
Justice Minister (Bayit Yehudi) Ayelet Shaked is on board, aware of the seriousness of the matter and standing firmly in support of the bill. She explained during a meeting with Rabbi Goldschmidt “We will not permit Israel to become a safe haven for recalcitrant husbands”.
The Chief Rabbinate explains that in Israel the batei din have the same authority as the judicial system but in the Diaspora, this is not so and too often recalcitrant husbands ignore piskei din from a beis din. The Chief Rabbinate’s bill would permit the law to regard a recalcitrant husband as a law-breaker, and he will be imprisoned. Even if such a person flees, an international arrest warrant can then be issued through Interpol. The Chief Rabbinate feels this is an important piece of legislation towards eliminating the problem of agunos.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)