The Knesset is considering ground-breaking new legislation proposed by the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) at their meeting in Berlin in 2013. The legislation will help innumerable women across Europe who are currently Agunos.
Although all Batei Din already have powers against men who withhold a get, previously the laws of Agunos have left many women around the world stranded when their husbands have ignored Rabbinic instructions. The CER has proposed that Israeli Batei Din should have civil powers to place sanctions on offenders no matter where they are in the world, which would be acted upon if they were to travel to Israel. It is hoped that this would act as a deterrent against the shameful practice of refusing to give a get to one’s wife.
In practice this would mean that civil sanctions, including a jail term, could be issued against the husband. If he were ever travel to Israel, police would have the power to arrest him upon his arrival.
CER is urging all those with an interest in this topic to support the bill through the Knesset.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis: “In an ideal world this kind of legislation would never be necessary yet we believe that this legislation is a tremendously important step forward in safeguarding Jewish women and hope that it goes some way to overcoming the problem of Agunos around the world.”
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