Rand’s marriage of an additional wife highlights inequality

Mavoi Satum, an organization that helps women who have been denied Jewish divorce by their husbands, congratulated ultra-Orthodox star Shuli Rand, who married another woman on Wednesday after receiving special permission from the Rabbinate, despite the fact that he is still married to his first wife.

“Marriage is a very happy occasion, especially when you have a choice in the matter,” the organization said on Facebook. “An option that thousands of women do not have, because women refused to get (Jewish divorce document) does not have a magical permit that allows a second marriage if the husband refuses to let it go, “the organization continued, emphasizing a theme that Rand’s marriage has brought to the forefront of public discourse last week.

“Shuli received permission to marry another wife from the Rabbinical Court not because she is well known or above the law, but simply because according to Halacha (Jewish law) it is permissible to grant her permission. Men can [to be given such a permit], for women, it is forbidden. “

Although Rand’s first wife, Michal, refused to agree to a divorce, Rand reportedly received a waiver signed by 100 rabbis that allowed him to remarry. This type of exemption does not exist for women, although one is normally granted to about 15 men each year.

The RABBINICAL COURT split for Agunot in Jerusalem in 2017 (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER / FLASH90)

In Israel, polygamy is illegal unless you are a Jewish man with permission from the Rabbinical Court, said the head of the legal department of the Nitzan Center for Women’s Justice Caspi Shiloni on Twitter, who emphasized that this is not a trivial thing.

“The law only makes an exception for Jewish men,” Caspi Shiloni said on Twitter. “A Muslim would still have criminal responsibility even if the Sharia Court had given him a permit.

“Equality in the eyes of the law is not exactly at stake here,” said Caspi Shiloni.

“A woman who is denied a get can never be free from her marriage, in the eyes of the Rabbinical Court, unless her husband gives her a get, she has no way out as far as they are concerned.

Rand’s permission to marry another wife is not that rare. About 15 such permits are issued each year, said Caspi Shiloni, adding that that number does not reflect the whole picture. “Because a man has a way out, a woman who refuses to get it has less incentive to stick with it from the start,” he explained.

“In Israel, thousands of women are [refused a get] And not only do they have no way out, but the impact on their lives is enormous, unlike the impact on a man who is denied life. If they live with another man, there will be halachic and financial consequences and their children will be labeled mamzerim. “

Mamzer is a status that is granted to children born from relationships prohibited by Judaism, including those born to women who were denied a get and to men who are not their refusals to get. Today, those whom the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has labeled mamzerim or those who are at risk of being labeled thus face numerous challenges in Israel. The most well-known limitation Mamzerim face is that they can only marry other Mamzerim or converts. The lesser-known problems created by the state have to do with who is listed as the father of a child in cases where the state believes there is a possibility of labeling a child a mamzer.

Israeli law requires that a woman’s legal husband be listed as the father of her child, even in cases where it is clear that he is not; Children born within 300 days of a woman’s divorce are also registered as her ex-husband’s children, according to the Forum Tears of the Oppressed.

If the woman refuses to include her ex-husband or husband as a father, the child will be listed as an orphan of a father.

This creates numerous legal challenges for these children and sometimes puts those who refuse to receive their mothers in a dangerous position of influence in their lives. A man listed as the father of the child can influence several important factors, such as medical treatment and obtaining a passport for the child.

Rand had an extremely bitter breakup from his previous wife, Michal Rand, in 2016. Michal accused him of abandoning her to persecute other women and not supporting their seven children, and a long conflict of he said she said unfolded in the media. She sued him for NIS 2.5 million and each said they had been physically abused by the other.

Hannah Brown contributed to this report.


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