New Law Sees Israel Helping Agunos Abroad

The building of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Husbands who leave their wives and refuse to give them a get will no longer find a welcome home in Israel, according to a new law proposed by Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi David Azoulay (Shas). The Law to Assist Agunos Abroad, as it is called, was prepared in coordination with the Chief Rabbinate’s court system, the Justice Ministry, and the Foreign Ministry, and will expand the scope of Israel’s ability to provide assistance to agunos. The law was passed by the Knesset on its first reading, and will now be sent to committee for preparation for its second and third reading.

Under the law, the sanctions that Batei Din can impose on Israelis who refuse to provide a get will be expanded to Jewish men abroad. Upon receipt of a bill of divorce authorized by an Orthodox Beis Din abroad, the Batei Din in Israel will issue an order of enforcement, as it would to any Israeli citizen. If the individual named in the order tries to enter Israel, he will be subject to the same sanction that would be imposed on an Israeli, including imposition of fines and even arrests.

The law is based on another previous proposal by MKs Avraham Michaeli (Shas) and Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid). “This is a dramatic law that will provide assistance to all Jewish women,” Lavie said. “The suffering of agunos is not limited geographically. We have a moral responsibility to provide assistance to them, no matter where they are.”

Harav Shimon Yaakovi, Director of the Batei Din in the Rabbinate, said that the law “is a significant and necessary step to provide assistance for women around the world. The law will enable both men and women to get on with their lives, and to open a new page.”

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