Israel Supreme Court Reverses Ruling of Rabbinical High Court

Israel’s Supreme Court reversed today a ruling of the Rabbinical High Court which had ordered a woman to accept a divorce from her husband.

Under Israel law, the rabbinical courts have exclusive jurisdiction in matters of marriage and divorce involving Jews. The Supreme Court took jurisdiction on the basis of the rabbinical court’s finding that the women, Mrs. Eva Bassan, was not Jewish. The secular court held that if this was correct, the rabbinical courts had no jurisdiction.

Mrs. Bassan had originally applied to the rabbinical court for conversion to Judaism, stating that her mother was a Catholic. However, according to the findings, she did not complete conversion and was married by a rabbi without informing him that she had not been officially converted. Holding that she was not Jewish, the rabbinical court ordered her to accept her husband’s divorce petition. She appealed to the secular court.

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