Monday, March 19, 2018

Proposed Knesset Bill Would Extend Israeli Rabbinical Court Jurisdiction Extraterritorially

JTA reports on an interesting family law bill that passed the first of three readings in Israel's Knesset earlier this month.  Jewish religious law, enforced in personal status matters in Israel by the country's Rabbinical courts, requires that a husband give his wife a "get" (bill of divorce)  in order for a divorce to be valid.  Under current law, Israel's Rabbinical courts can impose penalties, including fines and jail, to pressure an Israeli husband to give  his wife a "get." The proposed new legislation would extend jurisdiction of Israeli Rabbinical courts extraterritorially to any Jewish man who is unjustly withholding a "get."  Israeli courts could then fine or imprison the husband if he travels to Israel.  According to Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis:
Today among Jews in Europe, everyone has relatives in Israel, or they’re thinking they might be moving there or forced to move there.  So this threat of a problem may make a lot of reluctant husbands free their wives.