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Rabbinical court allowed divorce 'only if wife hid rape complaint'

Israeli divorce rights group takes up case of woman who was apparently barred from reporting her abusive ex-husband to the police

    Illustrative image from a 2016 swearing-in ceremony for new rabbinical court judges
    Illustrative image from a 2016 swearing-in ceremony for new rabbinical court judges Flash90

    An Israeli divorce rights organisation has taken up the case of a woman who was granted a get only if she did not tell the police that her husband had raped her.

    The Mavoi Satum group said it had filed a complaint with the Israeli attorney-general Avichai Mendelblit, asking his office to investigate alleged extortion at the rabbinical court that handled the case.

    “The ruling seemingly raises a suspicion of the crimes of obstruction of justice and extortion,” the woman’s lawyer, Batya Kahana-Dror, wrote in a letter to Mr Mendelblit.

    The woman had been married to her husband for five years before she filed for divorce with the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court in 2015, accusing her husband of raping her and behaving violently towards both her and their two children.

    However, according to Haaretz, the divorce agreement signed last year between the two said: “at the husband’s request, the woman will not submit any complaint to the police on past events.”   

    Ms Kahana-Dror said any condition required for granting a get - be it the woman's agreement not to sue or transferring the case to a rabbinical court from the civil family court - is illegal extortion and is unrelated to the divorce.

    Although a get was granted, differences over alimony and custody rights for the two children have yet to be settled.

    A statement from the rabbinical courts administration said the woman had legal representation during the divorce proceedings and did not present any evidence supporting claims of rape or violence.

    The case was “raised from the dead” after Mavoi Staum began to represent the woman, the courts said.

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