New law clamps down on Jewish divorce


JERUSALEM — A new law passed by Israel’s Knesset requires rabbinical courts to follow up on its divorce cases to ensure that the husband gives his wife a Jewish writ of divorce.

According to the law passed Monday, a husband must give his wife a get, a religious divorce, within 45 days of the court ruling.

If that does not happen, the rabbinical court must hold a hearing within another 45 days and discuss leveling sanctions, including seizing his drivers’ license and jail. The rabbinical court must then reconvene regularly on the case until the get is received.

According to Jewish law, a woman cannot remarry until she receives a get from her husband. Men have withheld gets in order to receive more favorable child custody agreements or to pay less in spousal or child support.

There are officially hundreds, and anecdotally thousands, of women, called agunahs or chained women, whose husbands have refused to give them a get  

The law was sponsored by Otniel Schneller of the Kadima Party and Zevulun Orlev of the Habayit Hayehudi Party.