Notorious divorce refuser arrested after 7 years on the run
Despite being apprehended, Ronen Vital continues to deny his wife a divorce. The two have four children together.
Chanan Greenwood and ILH Staff | September 1, 2021 | Exclusive to Yisrael Hayom
One of Israel’s most wanted divorce refusers was arrested by the police last week, Israel Hayom learned from sources involved in the matter.
Seven years ago, Ronen Vital fled a rabbinical court hearing and has refused to grant his wife, Orly, a divorce ever since. He was apprehended in south Tel Aviv thanks to extensive efforts and hundreds of hours of surveillance and investigation by the Yad La’isha organization, a division of Ohr Torah Stone, which advocates on behalf of women whose husbands refuse to grant them divorce papers.
The person who located Vital was a private investigator hired by the organization, who spotted him sitting in a parked car in southern Tel Aviv. He immediately informed Yad La’isha CEO Pnina Omer, who, in turn, alerted law enforcement, which resulted in Vital’s arrest 15 minutes later, although he initially refused to identify himself. The next day he remained in custody at the Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem.
Vital’s wife has been an “agunah” – literally “anchored” – a term used to describe the legal situation of a woman whose husband refuses to grant her a Jewish writ of divorce, for seven years, unable to remarry. The two have four children together.
Vital responded emotionally to the development saying, “It’s incredible to think that he’s literally been living under our noses for all these years, less than an hour from our home. I only hope that he’ll come to his senses and bring this painful chapter to an end, for the good of everyone including himself.”
Thanking Chief Rabbi David Lau and his office for their support, and to the Israel Police officers who have worked to make this arrest, Yad La’isha’s rabbinical court advocate and civil attorney Tehila Cohen said this case should be a signal, “that every get abuser should know that we won’t rest or stay silent until every woman forced to live in these chained marriages is set free. We will continue to do everything in our legal power to make that possible.”