An 82-year-old man who had been in prison for 32 years for refusing to give his wife a get, or a religious bill of divorce, died Monday after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while still in jail.
For three decades, Yihye Avraham has refused to grant the divorce, explaining that he loved, and still loves, his wife, Ora.
Jewish law stipulates that both husband and wife must agree to a divorce, although only a man can actually give the get. Israeli law allows imprisonment as a method of last resort to put pressure on a stubborn spouse.
The couple was married in their native country of Yemen when Ora was 12 and Yihye was 28. She bore him two daughters, but he reportedly berated her and abused her for not bearing sons.
Prison services spokesman Dubi Ben-Ami said husbands who refuse to grant a divorce are rarely jailed, and even then only for short periods.
“To our knowledge there has never been a case even resembling this one,” he said.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.