A Triumph for Women’s Rights in Israel. Finally.

The ‘get’ gets fairer
Nov. 17, 2008

The Knesset has finally succeeded in amending the Spousal Property Relations
Law, 35 years after it was initially passed, thus bringing a decades-long
struggle to its successful conclusion.
We had almost been driven to despair by years of cynical political
maneuvers, solely aimed at preserving the Rabbinical Courts’ control over
the divorce process. But two weeks ago more than 50 MKs managed to pass the
amendment initiated by the International Coalition for Agunah Rights (ICAR)
and, by so doing, to overcome coalitional considerations in favor of the
need to resolve the plight of women whose get (religious divorce) is being
The law, which will now allow for the division of property before the get,
is a historical step towards the advancement of human rights, and especially
towards advancing gender equality.
From the broader perspective of the divorce regime and legal arrangement in
Israel, one can say that the amendment is the most important development in
many years in advancing the status of women and gender equality in the
Israeli family law and divorce system. Ever since it was passed, the Spousal
Property Relations Law was no more than a “dead letter,” as the Supreme
Court described it, because its arrangement for equal distribution of the
marital property between the spouses could only be executed after the
divorce (i.e., only after the husband gave the wife a get).

In other words, ever since it was passed, the civil law increased the power
given to the husband by Jewish law, as delaying the get also delayed the
division of property.
IN ISRAEL, as in the rest of the world, women are usually those in need of
the immediate division of property, in order to achieve financial
independence and have a fresh start. But for every woman that married after
January 1974, this fundamental right was at the complete control of her
husband, just like the get itself.
The rabbinical establishment was consistently opposed to allowing the
property to be divided before the get, claiming that this would encourage
divorce and also cause many couples to separate without arranging a
religious divorce. Recently it has also been suggested that a get given
after the property was divided according to the amendment might be
considered a “coerced get,” thus not valid according to Jewish law – so that
any woman such divorced would really still be married to her husband,
forbidden to marry another, and her children by any other man would be
considered bastards (mamzerim).
In this the rabbinical establishment unmistakably placed itself on the side
of the husbands, closing its eyes to the suffering of countless women who
had to make extensive concessions to achieve their get and their liberty.
Truth be told, the Rabbinical Courts and the religious parties backing them
were simply afraid of losing their absolute control over the separation
procedures between spouses.

With this amendment, which severs once and for all the Gordian knot between
property division and the get, Israel has placed itself at the forefront of
advanced countries in the world in matters of equality and fairness
regarding the economic consequences of divorce.
From the broad picture I see as a member of the UN’s expert committee
supervising the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), it is clear that the
fundamental arrangement set by the law, along with the Israeli civil courts’
rulings, is one of the most advanced in the world in terms of protecting
women’s rights and acknowledging their part in the family assets accumulated
during a life together, as well as in future property and earning capacity,
in a way that aims to minimize as best as possible divorce’s dire financial
consequences for women.
We should welcome the fact that the courts can now start to implement this
advanced arrangement for the welfare of women and children in Israel, and we
can only hope that the Rabbinical Courts, which are also subject to the law,
will do so as well.

Prof. Halperin-Kaddari is the Director of the Ruth and Emanuel Rackman
Center for the Advancement of Women in Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Law;
and a member in the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Ref: Hasbara 4 Israel

This is what Israel is about.
It´s a state that is dressed up in a democracy dress.
But the bones and sceleton of the state is etnocratic
and teocratic. A sort of a mix between Aparthied South-Africa
and Iran.

Welcome to everyday Israel. Now just a little more “secular”.

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