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Israeli law pushes rabbinical courts on Jewish divorce decrees

JERUSALEM (JTA) —  Israel’s Knesset passed a measure requiring rabbinical courts to follow up on divorce cases to ensure that the husband gives his wife a Jewish writ of divorce.

According to the law enacted Monday, a husband must give his wife a get, a religious divorce, within 45 days of the court ruling. If he does not, a rabbinical court must hold a hearing within another 45 days and discuss leveling sanctions, including seizing his drivers’ license and jail. The rabbinical court would reconvene regularly on the case until the get is received.

Jewish law maintains that a woman cannot remarry until she receives a get from her husband. Men have withheld the Jewish divorce in order to receive more favorable child custody agreements or to pay less in spousal or child support.

There are officially hundreds, and anecdotally thousands, of women, called agunot, or chained women, whose husbands have refused to give them a get  

Otniel Schneller of the Kadima Party and Zevulun Orlev of the Habayit Hayehudi Party sponsored the bill.

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