The Israeli Supreme Court ordered the release of a woman who was jailed for refusing to accept a divorce with no settlement. The 62-year-old woman had left her physically abusive husband and arrived at the Petah Tikva Rabbincal Court for the divorce hearing. The woman was not allowed to consult a lawyer, and her husband, his lawyer and the court all urged the woman to agree to a divorce with no alimony. When the woman asked for a lawyer, Court President David Ohayon accused her of “harassing the court” and of “impertinence.” She was immediately sentenced to 14 days in prison.
The woman contacted Na’amat (the women’s branch of the Israeli trade union movement) chairman Ofra Friedman from the prison and asked for help. Na’amat representatives petitioned the court for her release and the Supreme Court later ordered her release.
Friedman commented, “Almost every day we hear of men who beat their wives to death and don’t even get arrested, or are released immediately by the courts. … But an elderly, sick, unemployed woman, with no income, is thrown into prison for two weeks, because she didn’t want to be forced into a penniless state? It’s unheard of!”
Domestic Violence Information Center