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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘women’s rights’

Too Pious to Give a Get

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

The Get, Judaism’s divorce document, was a revolutionary concept when it was introduced. It is a legal instrument that protects the rights of the woman from simply being thrown out of the house by her husband.

A husband cannot divorce his wife without her consent, and as a married woman, the husband had financial obligations towards his wife which he must fulfill. In an ancient world that hardly recognized a woman’s rights, this concept was downright radical. It protected the woman socially and financially.

But like most anything good in this world, someone will come along to find a way to abuse and distort it. The most common abuse of the Get being extortion. Since the Get requires consent from both sides, the husband or the wife can use it to extort and/or abuse the other, and unfortunately both sides have been known to do that to each other, lavishly.

But since the prohibitions on extra-marital relationships are far stricter on the woman, generally speaking, the woman often ends up as the weaker party in the fight. Typically you’ll hear more cases of men refusing to give a Get than of women refusing to accept it. I do know of a number of cases where the woman refused to accept the Get until she got the inequitable child custody terms she demanded.

Update: A reader pointed out a 2007 study which shows that in Israel, from the unresolved divorce cases, there were actually more women (20%) than men (19%) who refused to grant the divorce and use the Get for extortion purposes. That study didn’t show if among the closed cases, there were similar ratios of extortion.

Another important aspect of the Get is that it must be given and received through free will. There is a concept in Judaism, that a Jew always wants to do the right thing, so sometimes a little “convincing” (if you know what I mean) is all that’s needed to get him over the hump.

Habayit Hayehudi Chair MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli submitted a bill that hopes to address the issue of Get denial among Orthodox men to help convince them to do the right thing.

Her law will strip religious men sent to jail for Get refusal of the extra privileges they’re used to when it comes to the religious practices they follow. They will be able to get Kosher food in jail, but not Glatt-Kosher/Mehadrin food.

They won’t be able to sit and learn in the Torah wing of the prison.

Essentially her message is, your ongoing behavior of withholding the Get is not pious behavior, therefore you will not be entitled to privileges and services that a pious person requires, demands or expects.

(Unlike a criminal act that was already committed and is over, withholding a Get is an ongoing act).

But, from what I understand, a law that clearly only targets a specific sub-population is legally problematic.

So while Moalem-Rafaeli’s law may be a very good idea in practice (or theory), it may also not be a very legal one.

If it passes in the Knesset, we’ll see if it stands up in the Supreme Court.

JoeSettler

Report: Rabbinate May Be Plotting to Dump Rabbi Riskin of Efrat

Monday, May 25th, 2015

The Chief Rabbinate met in Jerusalem on Monday to discuss whether to extend the term of Efrat’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, but it postponed a decision until he appears personally for another hearing.

An extension of Rabbi Riskin’s term requires a special meeting because he is now 75 years old, but the Kipa website reported, “Senior officials in the Rabbinate plan to hold a discussion on his term of office and not automatically renew it in order to block his re-appointment because of his opinions. If there will be another discussion of the entire Rabbinate, a majority will vote against Rabbi Riskin.”

Rabbi Riskin supports establishing more religious courts to oversee conversions, a move that is stiffly opposed by the Hareidi establishment. He also has been active in promoting women’s rights in the Orthodox world, another move that the Hareidi establishment considers near blasphemy.

Rabbi Riskin’s office told The Jewish Press that it was not aware of the report by Kipa, but previous rabbis over the age of 70 have been asked to retire, regardless of their opinions. The spokesman for the Rabbinate told The Jewish Press that there have been cases where the term of a rabbi over the age of 70 has been extended, depending on his health.

Nevertheless, Monday’s discussion raises several questions to which the spokesman for the Chief Rabbinate said, “I don’t know.”

He said that Rabbis Riskin will be asked to appear personally, probably in the next several weeks, to answer questions about his health.

If that is the case, why didn’t the Chief Rabbinate ask for his medical records?

I don’t know.

Why didn’t the Rabbinate invite Rabbi Riskin today?

I don’t know.

Will Rabbi Riskin’s views on conversion be discussed in the upcoming hearing?

I don’t know.

However, the spokesman did confirm that the issue of conversion was not discussed today.

A decision to retire Rabbi Riskin, the founding rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side of New York City, without any other basis than opposition to his views could spur a legal battle in the Supreme Court. The Religious Affairs Ministry is now under the control of the Shas party, which may influence the Rabbinate’s decision in favor of ousting Rabbi Riskin.

Shas party leader Aryeh Deri is close to Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, son of the late Rav Ovadia Yosef who founded the Shas party and was its spiritual leader until his death less than two years ago.

Hopefully, this report by The Jewish Press.com will arouse public opinion, influence the Rabbinate, and pave the way for the distinguished rabbis to extend Rabbi Riskin’s term.

Read: TZOHAR’s statement on the upcoming hearing.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Watch Saudi Arabian Woman Break the Law by Driving a Car [video]

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Saudi Arabia has extended by 25 days the detention of two women who had the audacity to challenge the kingdom’s ban on women drivers.

Perhaps Saudi officials think women drivers are dangerous and that giving them a license would hike insurance rates. More likely, they are afraid that allowing women behind the wheel would freak out males, for whom the illusion of being superior is sacred.

The women so far have succeeded in driving the kingdom mad.

A relative of one of the women drivers, 25-year-old Loujain al-Hathloul, told the Associated Press that “she wanted to highlight the absurdity” of the Saudi anti-women driver law.

A grassroots camping on behalf of the right of women to drive has drawn 355,000 followers on Twitter, and Loujain al-Hathloul filmed herself last week as she drove from the United Arab Emirates across the Saudi border.

Border guards took her passport and detained her.

It is not yet known if the women will be charged a criminal violation.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Israel Wants UN to Recognize Hamas – as a Terrorist Organization

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Israel will demand that the United Nations label Hamas a terrorist organization when the head of the IDF’s international law department and Israel’s legal adviser to the international body meet this month for the first time ever with U.N. officials.

The United Nations never has officially recognized any group as a terrorist organization, and considering the solid pro-Arab majority in the General Assembly, the chances of its labeling Hamas as a terrorist group are as high as Iran publicly turning over its nuclear development program to the United States for safe keeping.

“Operation Protective Edge serves as a serious ‘indictment’ that reveals Hamas’ international crimes with emphasis on the terror tunnels as well as the usage of civilians as human shields,” the Israel delegation said in a statement.

The meeting with senior United Nations official will take place with the IDF’s expert on law, Col. Noam Neuman, and the Foreign Ministry’s legal adviser Ehud Keinan to UN senior officials.

It added, with what must undoubtedly be a carload of sarcasm, “Surprisingly, to date the UN has not officially recognized any organization in the world as a terrorist organization.”

”Surprisingly?”

The United Nations does not even know what terrorism means. It has no official definition of the term, according to Anne Bayefsky, editor of Eye on the UN. If the United Nations were to define a country that sponsors terrorism and then expel it from the undistinguished international body, the General Assembly could move into much smaller quarters.

The United Nations, once known for its work around the world to help poor societies, especially in Africa, has turned into a front for terrorism because it protects countries that operate on terror. It even awards them with prestigious positions. Saudi Arabia is on the Human Rights Council and Iran is on the Commission on the Status of Women.

Bayefsky wrote last week in the New York Daily News:

“Since the UN has no definition of terrorism, state sponsors of terrorism happily denounce terrorism’ at the very same time as they promote it. Second, the terrorist funders and weapons suppliers redirect the world’s attention to the supposed ‘root causes’ of terrorism….

“On Oct. 7, at the legal committee meeting at UN headquarters, Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon listed ‘root causes that may lead to radicalism such as . . . poverty, social exclusion and marginalization’ along with ‘Islamophobia.’

“Iranian President Hassan Rouhani played the same card in an address to the General Assembly in September when he whined about ‘Iranophobia.’ …

“Iran is also the president of the so-called ‘Non-Aligned Movement — a group of nations routinely aligned against the West. As such, Iran speaks for 120 UN member states — a majority of the 193 UN countries.

“Here’s the Iranian speech to the UN legal beagles that was webcast Oct. 7: ‘Terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation for self-determination and national liberation.’

“All 56 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have signed on to the Islamic Convention on Combating International Terrorism, which gives a green light to killing Israelis, Americans and anybody else deemed fair game. The treaty says, ‘Peoples’ struggle, including armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination . . . shall not be considered a terrorist crime.’”

The United Nations Security Council has followed the Peace and Love philosophy of universal self-destruction by blaming “conditions” for the “spread of violent extremism.”

No one is responsible for his actions, except Israel of course, whose existence is alleged as the reason for terror. Get rid of Israel, and there will be no more terror.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Isfahan Demonstration for Women’s Rights Becomes Anti-Government Protest

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

A demonstration for women’s rights taking place in the Iranian city of Isfahan is transforming into a protest against the regime, a source reported to Dr. Mordechai Kedar, lecturer and researcher at Bar Ilan University Wednesday night.

“Approximately ten thousand people are protesting the fact that people probably working for the regime are throwing acid in the faces of women and girls who do not dress according to the stringent rules of the fanatics,” Kedar wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “The demonstration is in area ‘Bridge 33.’

“The source emphasized that the demonstrators are calling to topple the Supreme Leader, [Ayatollah] Ali Khamenei.

“In other words, a demonstration about women’s rights has turned into a protest against the regime. The source did not mention the reaction of the government, but I assume that severe action will be taken,” Kedar wrote.

“Will the demonstration in Isfahan spread to other Iranian cities,” he questioned. “Time will tell.”

In 2009, Iran saw mass demonstrations across the country protesting what was largely believed to be a rigged re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Foreign journalists were banned, phone networks were cut and internet connections were spotty at best as the government sought to control the growing unrest.

Basij militia and police officers wielded batons and fired tear gas canisters at protesters, but the measures did little to quell the demonstrations. The government followed up with arrests, layoffs, convictions and hangings. Eventually the protests stopped but instead moved underground and became a full-scale anti-government operation.

Hana Levi Julian

Saudi Women Fined for Gross Traffic Crimes, Such as Driving (Video)

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Saudi traffic police had a field day in Riyadh on Saturday, fining at least 16 women who broke the tradition that prohibits women from taking the wheel.

The threat of $80 fines doused plans for a massive feminist turnout following a campaign of “women’s driving is a choice” that had gained support with more than 16,000 signatures.

The women who defied the ban posted videos on social media of their brazen act, and after being caught, they had to sign a pledge “to respect the Kingdom’s laws.” Police kept the women by their vehicles until a male guardian appeared to take the wheel, but some women were taken to the police station.

Given the traditional Muslim veil that women in Saudi Arabia usually wear in public, women drivers indeed could be a public danger. Who wants to ride with someone whose face is completely covered except for two slits for the eyes?

For the time being, it is the Saudi kingdom that has limited vision because it may only be a matter of time before it caves in and accepts the ugly Western influence of a female carrying out the masculine task of driving a car.

“Despite the strong opposition, the women believe that time is on their side,” The New York Times reported. “They point to the huge numbers of Saudis who study and travel abroad and return with new perspectives on their culture. They also suggest that the kingdom’s youthful population and the tremendous rise of social media will over time make the country more open to change.”

Saudi Arabia has the privilege of being the only country in the world where women are barred from driving, but the prohibition is a custom of the kingdom and not written in law.

The issue is not to be treated frivolously or with sarcasm. Saudi cleric Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan  in late September gave a very good reason why women should not drive.

“If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards,” he told the Senior Council of Scholars, one of the top religious bodies in the country.

“That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees,” he said.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Agunot Activist Woman Appointed to Panel for Jewish Judges

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has appointed the first woman as one of the members of the State Committee for the Appointment of Rabbinical Court Judges.

Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the Project for the Prevention of Agunot and Get-Refusal of the International Young Israel Movement and the Jewish Agency, was named to the panel based on her expertise in Talmudic and Jewish law and her social activism on behalf of “agunim,” women who cannot re-marry because their ex-husbands refused to grant them a divorce, as required by Jewish law before re-marriage.

Dr. Levmore has actively brought about the spread of the acceptance of prenuptial agreements as a successful preventative tool to the problem of the agunah.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/agunot-activist-woman-appointed-to-panel-for-jewish-judges/2013/09/10/

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