For the first time in the history of the Batei Din in Israel, the Nasi of the Beis Din HaGadol approved a prison term for a woman who has refused to accept a get from her husband for four years.
The couple married in 2000 and have two daughters, now aged 13 and 16. About 15 years ago, problems arose in the marriage and gradually worsened. In 2018, the husband opened a divorce case in the Beis Din. This was after the family court had deliberated the case and determined that custody of the minor children would be granted to the father.
The woman did not show up for any of the hearings held in the family court or the Beis Din, forcing the Beis Din to issue an arrest warrant against her. She was brought to the hearings by a police officer but she refused to answer the court’s questions and was released on bail.
The woman appeared for the following hearings but continued to insist that she is not prepared to accept a get.
Over the years, the court imposed sanctions on the woman, including the revocation of her driver’s license, freezing her bank account, etc., but to no avail. In 2019, after all the court’s efforts failed, it transferred the case to the Agunos Department, which recruited a psychologist who tried working with the woman for a long period of time. His efforts to convince the woman to cooperate with the court were unsuccessful and the psychologist reported that the woman refuses to accept reality and release her husband to begin a new life.
The woman continued to refuse to cooperate with the Beis Din and the court was forced to order her arrest again. The woman was in custody for 24 hours until her brother-in-law released her on twenty thousand shekels bail.
At that point, the court tried to influence the woman through her workplace, and this attempt was also unsuccessful. The court then referred the case to a social worker who issued a report informing the court that the woman would not cooperate with her.
As a last resort, the court requested the approval of the Nasi, Rav Dovid Lau, to issue an imprisonment order against the woman. After a long discussion and repeated attempts by the judges to convince the woman to act logically, the woman continued to refuse and Rav Lau approved the order.
On Sunday morning, after countless attempts to convince the woman to accept a get, a private investigator acting on behalf of the Agunos Department located the woman and followed her. The woman behaved as if she was running away, walking through narrow alleys and retracing her steps in order to avoid being tracked. Finally, she returned to her house and locked herself inside the house. Israel Police, who were called to enforce the court’s decision, knocked on the door but the woman refused to open it and they were forced to break in. The woman was asked one final time if she would accept a get and avoid going to jail but she again refused.
Rav Eli Ben Dahan, the director of the Batei Din, said: “The Beis Din made every effort to avoid using the means at its disposal to enforce the court’s decisions. Unfortunately, the woman refused to cooperate and insisted on imprisoning her husband in a marriage that exists on paper only. I hope that in the coming days she understands her situation and makes an appointment to accept a get.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)