Inbal at the protest

ROI 2007 Alumna Inbal Freund and her group held a demonstration today as part of the ICAR coalition for agunot and mesoravot get which includes 25 organizations. From Inbal at Mavoi Satum:
chained

The ministerial committee dealing with legislation has approved a proposed law to broaden the authority of the rabbinic courts. It aims to increase the court’s mandate by giving it jurisdiction over matters of property as well as regarding issues applicable after the get (religious divorce) is given… As it stands at the moment, giving a get is used as a form of blackmail. The broadening of the court’s authority will simply increase the use of this blackmail with the backing of the rabbinic courts. The proposed motion is part of a worrying process giving extended powers to the rabbinic courts at the expense of womens’ rights.

According to Inbal, the proposed law was passed by the ministerial legislative committee but an appeal was lodged against the law by MK’s Herzog and Aharonovich. A decision regarding the appeal will be made today at the Knesset. In opposition to this proposed law, Inbal and her group held a demonstration today opposite the Prime Ministers office in Jerusalem. About 50 people showed up, most dressed in white and many bound to each other in handcuffs, symbolizing the plight of religious women whose husbands refuse to grant them a divorce, thus preventing them from remarrying and having more children.

This sort of thing makes me nuts. It reminds me about what a hit the Jewish people took from the Holocaust. How many bold Torah scholars did we lose? How many true Gedolim were reduced to ash, thus leaving the evolution of religious Judaism to lesser individuals – individuals too scared of clearly anachronistic tradition to make any real progress in an issue as clear cut as this. Surely if they can determine to scientific precision what length of sleeve or skirt constitutes tznius (modesty) – how much flesh can be exposed before surrounding men’s imaginations go into lust inspired hyperdrive – well then surely a halachic solution to this issue can be found.

Now I’m no Torah scholar, but it seems to me the mitzvah of going forth and multiplying takes precedence over whatever retarded rationale allows a woman of child bearing years to have her womb remain fallow while her asshole husband remarries and refuses to grant his first wife a divorce. The Rabbis say there’s nothing they can do about that – perhaps instead of bringing handcuffs as props, Inbal and the protesters should have brought limp dicks.

Anyhow, lots of press was there, both domestic and international and I am sure you’ll read more about this issue in the coming hours and days. You should also visit Mavoi Satum‘s Web site for more info.

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ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

11 Comments

  • Inbal Freund- Fighting the good fight!
    It is amazing what the Israeli government gets away with. I read in Ha’aretz last week how this situation came to be: Ben-Guryon and Golda tried to appease the religious parties thinking it was a small price to pay; but like taking money from the loan shark – the interstate is killing us so many years later…

  • Either you suffer a complete lack of understanding in the halachic issue, which you didn’t really address at all, or you’re choosing to ignore it because it creates difficulties for you. Halachah is not something which can just be molded however one wants. There are certain boundaries within which it is ‘flexible,’ but those boundaries are often very strict. It’s very easy to choose which way the law should be stricter, not so easy to lighten a halachic stricture already in place.

    You brought this example: “Surely if they can determine to scientific precision what length of sleeve or skirt constitutes tznius (modesty) – how much flesh can be exposed before surrounding men’s imaginations go into lust inspired hyperdrive – well then surely a halachic solution to this issue can be found”
    This proves exactly the opposite of what you’re saying. They can determine the precise lenght, they cannot get rid of the requirement all-together. “Determining” the precise length implies that said length already exists and that they are merely figuring our what it is exactly. That’s also the case with Agunot. The halachah is clear. There are areas where one may be lenient and areas where they may not. The ‘problem’ of a woman needing a get from her husband to get re-married (a man actually cannot remarry without having given a get either) is a halachic reality which can’t be changed.

    I agree that the Rabbanut is not handling these cases as well as they could, often failing to use the full scope of their powers to force the jerk to give a get already when they should. There is certainly what to protest, and progress to be made.

    But I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking them to do here, beside throwing out the halachah entirely. That’s something one can only do when they do not believe the Torah (written and oral) to be of divine origin, belief in which is a basic tenet of Judaism. Anything the rabbis are capable of doing will leave us still living with the problem of agunot, just handled ‘better’ rather than ‘worse.’

  • Why does this site take SO LONG to load? The only site worse than this is Hot Ghetto Mess.

  • The best solution for this problem is for women to opt out of the Orthodox system. If she can’t get remarried under orthodox law, then perhaps Hindu, Protestant, Unitarian, Muslim or CONSERVATIVE Judaism can find a way for her to get married.

    Bottom line is that no Orthodox matchmaker is going to fix her up anyway if she causes “strife” or a “protest” because they will label her a failure at keeping her “bais ne’eman” together and thus unmarriagable, even if her husband brought a shicksa in from Austrialia and claimed she wanted to learn Judaism; or if he had a girlfriend in Michigan; or if he had the emotional capacity of a teaspoon; or; if he was gay; or if he was gay, or if he was gay , or if he was gay (heard that one alot) or if he was on Jdate while married (yes, I’ve attended one too many Orthodox Divorced Women support groups, I’ve heard it all).

    Rage against the machine. ooo-rah

    The halakas were formulated back when adultery was proven by drinking a potion, today we prove it by doing a search of the persons hard drive and reading their email. The halaka’s got a way to go.

  • Eitan,
    I never advocated doing away with Halachah, although that’s effectively what people are being driven to do, both agunot who may have no other options and other Jews driven away from Judaism in disgust by a situation that is patently, on its face wrong to the point of absurdity. Look at the way mamzer status is dealt with. Realizing how onerous the status is, Rabbis will go to extremes so as not to confer said status, and that’s great. Why will they not go to similar extremes on behalf of agunot? Isn’t being denied the possibility of bringing more Jewish children into the world because of some jerk a sufficiently good reason to inspire Rabbis to think up creative solutions? Yes? No?

  • No, because as long as Rabbis do not grant women the same divorce rights as men, the men get to stay in power….duh.

    Mamzers are not a threat to the Male Status Quo, and many mamzers may in fact be male, so creative solutions are found.

    The evolution of both Torah and secular laws of all nations are based upon the ruling class striving to maintain its power by not granting privileges to the underclasses, whether they be blacks, women, gays or iraqis who want democracy.

    Although Torah law tries to deal with this problem by saying a Judge can’t know which party has more money etc., it still excludes women, slaves and non-jews from the entirety of its legal system.

  • I knew you were going to blame the patriarchy Chutzpah. I’m glad you added into your evolution comment secular laws as well. Imperfection is inherent in our system because while the Torah is divine, humans aren’t and they are thus imperfect. Evolution in this respect derives from our attempts to reach perfection. This is one of those areas that clearly needs to be more evolved.

  • Agreed CK, the Torah is divine but the men who have interpreted it for the past couple o’ thousand years weren’t …in fact they didn’t even know how to text message.

  • Bottom line: This will drive many more women from the faith, and will spur higher intermarriage rates across the board. Everywhere. It’s a disgusting & disgraceful situation, and one that few modern secular states would tolerate. Turkey might soon, but they might also not get full EU status either. Cheers, ‘VJ’

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