A chareidi ‘get’ refuser, leaving his wife an agunah for a decade, tried to enter Israel to attend the chasenah of his son, arriving under a fake identity. However, his attempt failed as he was arrested. Nevertheless, the recalcitrant husband remains adamant in his refusal to give his wife a ‘get’.
According to the report released by Chanan Greenwald in the daily Yisrael Hayom newspaper, the husband according to the experts is among the most difficult agunah cases being dealt with worldwide. The husband and wife are reportedly Americans, and were married around 23 years ago.
A decade ago, after their marriage collapsed, accompanied by complaints of severe violence by the husband, the woman decided to leave him and get divorced, taking their four children. The man, who originally was going to give a ‘get’, changed his mind. In a rare move, the Belzer Rebbe Shlita ruled that the husband must give a ‘get’ to his wife without condition and without delay. This too did not persuade him to release his wife.
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Six years ago, the man visited Israel. Authorities succeeded in obtaining a judicial order prohibiting him from leaving the country. The Rabbanut beis din succeeded in preventing him from leaving the country back then, but he nevertheless succeeded, using the passport of his brother.
Last Thursday, attorney and Rabbinical Advocate Tehila Cohen of the Yad L’Isha organization, which is affiliated with the Ohr Torah Stone network, learned the recalcitrant husband boarded a plane heading to Israel to attend his son’s wedding. Attorney Cohen has been working to assist the wife during the past two years. After learning of his imminent arrival, police began monitoring the flight along with officials from the Interior Ministry, beginning to scan the incoming passengers towards identifying the husband.
At about 3:45PM on a Friday afternoon, the husband being sought got off of the plane and police detectives were at the airport waiting to greet him. They followed him to passport control, where he presented someone else’s passport. He was immediately taken into custody and a search revealed he had another passport, from Canada.
It was about two hours before Shabbos in Jerusalem, but nevertheless, a beis din convened in Yerushalayim, and the dayanim decided he would remain in jail until the next session of the beis din.
However, even the threat of prison does not seem to have persuaded the husband, who was brought before the beis din again under a police escort, a number of hours before his son’s wedding. He refused to give his wife a ‘get’. The dad was not released to attend the wedding because back in 2013, when he was permitted to attend the wedding of another son, he fled and managed to leave Israel as well, as reported earlier.
A considerable effort was made prior to the wedding of his son towards securing a ‘get’, but unfortunately, those efforts were unsuccessful. Penina Omer of Yad L’Isha explains that sadly, it appears the dad preferred to sit in jail rather than dance at his son’s wedding.
Another hearing of the Supreme Beis Din was held on Monday at the husband’s request, and he continues to refuse to release his wife, and as a result, remains in jail.
In the past year, the Chief Rabbinate has resolved the cases of 60 agunos who are not citizens of Israel, who would not have been released from their status without the Chief Rabbinate and state’s involvement.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)