Israel’s divorce rate rises 5 percent, led by Tel Aviv

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s divorce rate rose 5 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year, with the highest number of divorced couples from Tel Aviv.

Some 10,964 couples divorced last year, according to a report issued by the Rabbinical Courts Administration. Tel Aviv saw 711 couples split up, followed by 705 in Jerusalem. The city of Bnei Brak, which has a high proportion of haredi Orthodox families, had 147 divorces.

Divorces were granted in 2012 to 163 women classified as agunot, or women whose husbands refuse to grant them a religious divorce, without which they can not remarry. Some 97 agunot were granted divorces the previous year, though the report does not say how many women currently are being refused a religious divorce, or get.

Sanctions, including in some cases prison, were imposed by the court on 60 men who are refusing to grant their wives a divorce, compared to 41 in 2011.

The rabbinate fielded 75 requests from men wishing to take a second wife, according to the report.

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