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Agunot May Be Free to Re-marry

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Hundreds of Jewish women whose husbands are missing since the Yom Kippur War, who are “agunot” in Jewish religious law, may be free to re-marry as a result of a special rabbinical court which decides in what cases an aguna may be considered a widow. Under religious law, an aguna may re-marry only if a rabbinical court decides that her husband is dead and that she is therefore a widow.

Out of 900 cases brought to this court, which is headed by Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, 243 have been resolved, court officials said. Army Chief Rabbi Mordechai Piron and his deputy Rabbi Gad Navon, also sit on the court, which is expected to deal with all 900 cases by the end of this year.

Rabbi Yosef said the problems of missing soldiers are difficult to solve and special halachic solutions will have to be found to free some of their wives from the aguna status. He said that, for the time being, the special court will not deal with cases where doubt remains as to the missing husband’s death.

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