Apparently, Get refusal in Israel goes both ways. On Sunday evening, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rav David Lau said that there are currently more female Get refusers in the country than there are male Get refusers.
According to Halacha, a man must acquiesce to giving his wife a Get in order for a divorce to take place. A woman can refuse a Get, if she persists in her refusal to accept a Get for a month after a ruling is issued that a Get should be given.
The statement by Rabbi Lau came during a meeting held for Rabbis of the Israel Prison Services. Rabbi Lau went further, blaming the media for fostering the narrative that only women cannot remarry due to husbands who refuse to give a Get, thereby fostering a blatant bias against men stuck in troubled marriages.
In Israel, the Rabbinate is allowed to put those who refuse to give or accept a Get in prison. However, it has so far only incarcerated male refusers.
Said Rabbi Lau: “The media always presents one aspect and, naturally, there are indeed male refusers in prison. But female refusers have not yet been allowed to be put here, and I hope that we will not have to deal with this question.”
“These stories are very painful. Unfortunately there are people who use their abilities inappropriately, and hurt first and foremost themselves and the family.”
In 2017, the Chief Rabbinate released statistics that showed that more men are refused a divorce than women. As reported in Israeli news sites at the time, the records show that some 56,000 couples divorced over the past five years. In the vast majority of these cases, the Beit Din (Rabbinical Court) succeeded in bringing about a divorce by mutual consent or was presented with a “done deal.”
However, in some 7,000 cases, the Rabbinate was forced to order a Get. Out of those cases, 3,566 were against the man, and 3,384 were against the woman. In all but 809 of these cases, a get was given within a month.
According to a report that appeared recently on the Arutz Sheva website, of the 809 cases where refusals for more than a month took place, 382 of them involved a recalcitrant husband, while the other 427 involved women who refused to accept a Get. 12 percent more women refused divorces than men.
Similar statistics cropped up in recent years. Between 2012 and 2015, some 249 women refused to accept a get, while 205 men refused to give one. In 2016 the numbers were almost equal, although the total number spiked significantly with 285 total cases of Get refusal, 143 for men and 142 for women.
Between 2012 and 2017, 69 men were imprisoned for refusing to give a get and not a single woman was imprisoned for refusing to accept one.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)