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New Knesset Law Gets Tough on ‘Get’ Refusers

Kadima MK Otniel Schneller, co-sponsor of newly-passed "Sanctions Law"

Kadima MK Otniel Schneller, co-sponsor of newly-passed "Sanctions Law"
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90

Two bills that change the Israeli Rabbinical Court’s system for dealing with people who refuse to give or accept a Get – the document required to finalize a divorce by Jewish law – passed into law yesterday. The two bills, which were merged into one, were sponsored by MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and MK Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home) and endorsed with the blessings of Rabbinical Courts Chairman Rabbi Shlomo Dichovsky and Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar. The bill received the nickname the “Sanctions Law” for making it easier to impose sanctions on people who refuse to give or accept a Get.

The bill states that the Rabbinical Court must determine a court date for a Get within 45 days of a divorce sentence. If the court is authorizing a divorce agreement, the date of the Get hearing will also be within 45 days. If the Get is not given within that time, the court will issue a ‘restriction order’ on the Mesarev Get and hold another hearing within the following 45 days. The court will meet within 90 days of giving a restriction order to discuss it and decide if it must be extended. If no restriction order was issued, the court will set a date for a hearing about the possibility of issuing one within 45 days.

The court will be able to use these extensions as they see fit. There will be no need to have more than one judge hearing the case extensions, but if a judge wishes to invoke a restriction order he must call in the other judges within 15 days. The new law will also make it more difficult to appeal a restriction order.

The law will allow appeals on the absence of a restriction order to be heard by the Higher Rabbinical Court within 60 days, and forces a court decision within 60 days of the hearing. If the appeal on the absence of a restriction order is heard in a regular Rabbinical Court, the decision must be made within 30 days.

The bill passed its second and third readings late last night 11-1 and 9-1, respectively. Ultra-Orthodox MK Maklev (United Torah Judaism), who was running the session as Deputy Speaker, was the sole MK to oppose the bill. He did not provide a reason for his objection.

About the Author: Jeremy Saltan is Bayit Yehudi's Mevaseret Tzion Party Branch Director and a Central Committee Member. Jeremy served as Bayit Yehudi's English Speaking Campaign Manager in the past election. Visit Jeremy's blog, www.knessetjeremy.com.


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