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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
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Proposed Law: No ‘Mehadrin’ Kosher Food to Imprisoned Get Refusers

MK Dov Lipman

MK Dov Lipman

MK Rabbi Dov Lipman has proposed a new law by which the plight of agunot should be somewhat relieved.

The new law, if it will pass, will take away mehadrin food rights for anyone sitting in jail due to his refusal to give his wife a get. If the husband has made his wife an agunah, and he is sitting in jail because of it, which is not a common step to be taken, “would not be housed in the prison’s religious wing; would not be given the more strictly supervised mehadrin kosher food and would not be allowed to make any phone calls other than to their rabbinic pleader or their attorney.” source: Haaretz

Lipman’s proposal has support form other MKs and, more importantly, was crafted in coordination with Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau.

Lipman explains that this additional step will break the spirit of those hiding behind religion to hurt their wives. Lipman admits it is a small step, but as he explained to me this is something that can harm their standing in the community and therefore can be effective in a way that even jail was not.

The proposal takes into account that this can be seen as undermining the rights of a prisoner, but gets around it by examining that the get-refuser can be released from the restrictions at any time by following the ruling and giving his wife a get, thus putting the keys in his own hand.

I wonder if this will pass the test of legality or be knocked down, even if it should pass in the Knesset, by the Supreme Court.

I hope it passes because each additional step, even small ones, taken to help the agunot is important.

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13 Responses to “Proposed Law: No ‘Mehadrin’ Kosher Food to Imprisoned Get Refusers”

  1. Elli Fischer says:

    Not sure why that requires primary legislation. The Israeli rabbinical courts have the authority to impose such sanctions without it, and have done so in the past.

  2. Yoni Ross says:

    Without legislation, it’s optional. Legislation also makes it a real deterrent, as opposed to a vague possibility.

  3. Yoni Ross says:

    The fact that I’m actually defending any legislation coming from this Knesset should give you pause. :-)

  4. Disgusting…Hashem we need your help please.

  5. Elli Fischer says:

    Yoni – it’s always discretionary. This type of sanction goes under the category of “harchakot de-Rabeinu Tam” and constitute a form of sanction that is not considered coercion halakhically. It is up to the judges to decide when to apply the sanctions, and that power should remain discretionary. I’m not at all sure what this law adds to the rabbinic tool box that was not already there.

  6. You’ll like this Tammy Weitzner

  7. I do like
    If only they could bring these type of laws to the states

  8. Ann Cohen says:

    Good! Let them rot in prison until these men give there estranged wives a get

  9. Ohhh i misread amen let the gets begin

  10. Dan Silagi says:

    Why should get refusers get worse punishment than terrorists and murderers? Better yet, why are there religious courts in Israel, period?

  11. Steve Moyer says:

    How often is this such a problem? And does it rise to the level that it needs legislation to resolve?

  12. Cassidy Leventhal says:

    I suspect that this law would backfire rather quickly, given the negative publicity a hunger strike would elicit.

  13. I don't understand any of it.

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