Refusal To Give A Get in Israel Can Be A Criminal Offense

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Following a decision of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that it is in the public interest that someone who ignores the instructions of a bais din to give his wife a get or parents who encourage such a person should be subjected to criminal investigation, the Israeli police got involved in a divorce case and summoned American parents accused of abetting their son’s get refusal to come in for questioning.

The parents immediately asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary injunction to cancel the summons. But the Supreme Court rejected their appeal, saying that the parents “indicated no justified reason for the intervention of this court in the work procedure and professional opinion of the Israeli Police. As is known, intervention of this kind is only done in the most exceptional cases.”

A High Court appeal registered by the parents against a Tel Aviv bais din ruling preventing them from leaving Israel is still pending. The same bais din had the get refuser sent to prison for thirty days.

The couple involved in this case married nineteen years ago and had two children in the United States. The husband then allegedly abandoned his family after a visit to Israel ten years ago, after his wife was disabled by a severe stroke, and refused to give his wife a get. A private investigator allegedly found evidence that the husband’s father, a wealthy philanthropist, was behind this refusal.

The family of the recalcitrant husband’s father said in response to the latest news that “The decision of the Attorney General and the botei din to fight the get refuser phenomenon in every way is welcome and worthy, but it is irrelevant to the present case for it has not been shown in any way that the elderly father, who is not in touch with his son, is behind the refusal of his son to issue a divorce. On the contrary, he proved that he tried in the past to bring every influence upon his son to give a get. We believe that just as these things were proved in bais din, so they will be proved in an investigation.”

David Steger – Israel



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