|Court Orders Husband to Compensate “Aguna” in Precedent-Setting Ruling|
|Written by Ruby Ong|
In a precedent-setting ruling, the Tel Aviv District Court has awarded nearly $200,000 compensation to an aguna - a woman whose husband is refusing to give her a divorce. The woman is being represented by NIF grantee Center for Women’s Justice.
The woman, who is in her late thirties, has been married for 14 years but separated from her husband just three months after the wedding. He has since refused to grant her a divorce. In their ruling the three judges said, “The woman is being held hostage in a prison of the husband’s making. He has prevented her from experiencing life’s joys, establishing a family and having children. We are talking about immeasurable damage that increases by the day.”
Susan Weiss, Director of the Center for Women’s Justice said, “The ruling sends out a strong message that you cannot abuse a woman under the excuse of religious law, and changes the balance of power between men and women.”
Through its support of several dozen organizations involved in the struggle for aguna rights, NIF has over the years won a get (a rabbinically sanctioned divorce) for hundreds of Israeli women whose husbands have refused to grant them a divorce. In Israel, there is no civil divorce, so a husband who denies his wife a religious divorce makes it legally impossible for her to remarry.
This latest ruling over compensation was on appeal from the lower family court. Weiss said, “Although not formally binding, all family courts are likely to follow this example in the future.”