Supreme Court Vice President Elyakim Rubinstein on Wednesday issued a harsh criticism of the intent of the Supreme Rabbinic Court to reconsider a ruling of the regional rabbinic court in Tzfat granting via an exceptional procedure a get-divorce decree to a woman whose husband had been in a coma for nine years, Walla reported.
The Tzfat rabbinic court employed an exceptional process known as “zikuy get” (awarding a divorce) to circumvent the halakhic requirement that a get be given with the explicit consent of both husband and wife. In this process, the court appoints itself the emissary of the husband who is unaware of his environment. The court acted with the full consent of the husband’s family.
“I don’t like this picture,” Justice Rubinstein said during a Supreme Court debate of an appeal against the Supreme Rabbinic Court’s intent to reconsider the get. The justice added: “What if the petitioner were to remarry in the meantime and had children, everything would reopen?”
On Tuesday, the women petitioning the Supreme Court said: “Almost three years ago, I was given my life back, and all of a sudden a man who doesn’t even know me is demanding to take me all the way back, to be an Aguna again.” She said she felt this was “completely unjust.”
Rubinstein also noted that the petitioner against the get is a third-party without personal connection to the case, saying, “This petition is inappropriate. The petitioner is getting involved in someone else’s fight.”
However, attorney Raphael Schtube, representing the petitioner at the Supreme Rabbinic Court, argued that he, in effect, represents the husband who is in a coma. “The real petitioner here is the husband,” argued the attorney.”
The Supreme Court finally issued an injunction against the rabbinic court, enjoining it from taking up the matter for 21 days, until the Supreme Court rules on the woman’s petition to block the process of withdrawing her get.
Dozens of women demonstrated outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem in support of the woman, carrying signs saying: “You can’t put a woman back in the cage.”
The Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef has said on several occasions that he favors annulling the get, and supported the petitioner despite his lack of personal connection to the case.