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MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli

The Knesset plenum approved in a preliminary vote a bill expanding the authority of rabbinical courts to limit the privileges of a prisoner who has defied a ruling compelling him to give his white a get-religious divorce. The bill, sponsored by MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi), permits rabbinical courts to issue warrants limiting a prisoner’s participation in any Torah study forum in prison, receiving “mehadrin” kosher food, and being assigned to the observant section in prison.

The rabbinical court is even empowered, according to the bill, to place a prisoner in isolation without paper and writing instruments, and without access to any means of communication.


The preliminary vote passed with 34 for and 2 against.

The explanation notes accompanying the bill say that the Supreme Rabbinical Court has voiced its objections to providing these prisoners with privileges that are rooted in their being observant Jews, when they openly defy a rabbinical ruling. The court has already ruled that there is no justification for including these men in the Torah observant community in prison, or in any study program, and there is no point in giving them “extra kosher” food.

“The bill is intended to authorize the rabbinical courts to levy these limits on get refusers sitting in prison, in order to persuade them to release their wives from the chains of their Aguna status.”

MK Moalem-Refaeli said in a statement: “A man who forces his wife into an Aguna status and refuses to accept the command of rabbinical judges to stop abusing her is not a man who truly values Halacha and maintaining a religious lifestyle. He steps on the fundamental Jewish principle of ‘Love your fellow-man as you would yourself’ merely to harass his wife. Therefore he does not deserve to enjoy the plethora of privileges the prisons afford religious inmates.”


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