Supreme Court ends Israeli woman’s marriage to comatose husband after decade-long divorce

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court officially allowed a Safed women to divorce her comatose husband, ending a decade-long process.

On Thursday, the court blocked rabbinical judges from reviewing an appeal against the nullification of the marriage after imposing an injunction against it in January.

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, which is responsible for Jewish family courts, had sought to allow a review of a 2014 decision by the Safed Rabbinical Court, ruling in its capacity as a divorce court, that the marriage may be dissolved. In Israel, recognized religious courts are part of the judiciary and work as family courts.

The husband has been in a coma since 2007, when he was severely wounded in a motorcycle. For years the wife has been trying to obtain a divorce because doctors said he would likely never wake up.

In an interview for Army Radio, she said she “thanks Hashem [God] that the nightmare is over.” She added: “I wanted it to end before the holiday of liberty” referring to Passover, which this year begins on April 10.

Prior to the granting of her religious divorce, or get, the wife was considered a “chained woman,” or agunah – a term that relates to women who are unable to obtain a religious divorce and therefore are not eligible to remarry legally in Israel or have their later marriages recognized by the state.