Get-Refuser’s Sister’s Wedding Helps Release Chained Woman
The wedding of the sister of D., an American citizen who for nearly three years refused to give his wife R. a get, turned into a trap that brought about his arrest in Israel.
Arutz 7 News Desk | 15 July, 2020
For two and a half years D. refused to give his wife R. (30) a get, excusing his refusal with a variety of pretexts. He ignored the pleas of his wife, who had suffered throughout their married life, and was adamant in his refusal. It seemed there was no way to obtain a get. For eight years the couple had lived together in the United States, where their children were born. Eight years of a complex, tortuous relationship.
Despite the fact that the couple had separated two and a half years ago, the husband’s family remained on good terms with the wife, and several months ago she was invited to his sister’s wedding in Israel. R. bought herself and her children airplane tickets to Israel for the event, which was held over four months ago. To her surprise her get-refusing husband was also there, confident that nothing could happen to him.
When R. discovered her husband was in Israel, she called a friend who had experienced a similar situation of being denied a divorce. Her friend recommended that she consult with Ohr Torah Stone’s Yad La’isha organization, which represents women who are agunot. “They saved me; they’ll save you,” her friend said.
R. duly contacted Yad La’isha and within hours, with the help of the rabbinical court’s Agunot department, a Departure Prohibition Order was issued against the husband, preventing him from being able to leave the country.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, D. had not tried to return to the United States. Last week, however, possibly after he discovered there was a DPO against him, D. arrived at the airport with plans to return to the US, armed with a counterfeit document stating that the DPO had been revoked.
Fortunately for his wife, the ruse was discovered after a brief telephone call to the Jerusalem rabbinate’s secretariat, thanks to the vigilance of Ben Gurion Airport’s border inspectors.
The husband, who had been caught red-handed, disappeared, and the rabbinical court’s Aguna department re-entered the picture in order to find him. A widespread search, lasting several days, was launched by the Airport Police and the Agunot department, until eventually the husband was located and arrested.
Within 24 hours D. was brought before the rabbinical courts to arrange the get. After a long discussion with the rabbinical court secretary and the Agunot department director to soften him up, the husband understood he had no choice – he would remain locked in a cell, just as he had locked his wife into marriage. Eventually he decided to grant the long-awaited get and release his wife.
The judges on the rabbinical court bench were Rabbi Uriel Lavi, Rabbi Mordechai Mizrachi Bar Or, and Rabbi Michael Tzadok.
Pnina Omer, director of Ohr Torah Stone’s Yad La’isha: The Monica Dennis Goldberg Legal Aid Center, said: “Yad La’isha’s activity, in collaboration with the Agunot department, provided R. with the keys to her freedom. If there are any women out there who strive to be free, they should contact us for help. We will make every effort to release all agunot. I would like to express my esteem for rabbinical court advocate and civil attorney Tehilla Cohen, who represented R. on behalf of Yad La’isha, for her uncompromising work on this very complex case which posed many legal and technical difficulties. We are also grateful to the rabbinical court that was efficient and dedicated to helping this aguna. Above all, congratulations to R., who is now finally free. ‘Blessed is He who liberates the chained!’”
Rabbi Eliyahu Maimon, director of the agunot department, stated: “The State of Israel does everything in its power to ease the suffering of Jewish women throughout the world who face difficulties freeing themselves from failed marriages. I thank the Chief Secretary of the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court, Mr. Moshe Biton, and the dayanim headed by Av Beit Din Rabbi Uriel Lavi, for their determination which brought another wretched and avoidable case to an end.”