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Feb 13, 2014

Proposed Law: No mehadrin food to release an agunah

MK Rabbi Dov Lipman has proposed a new law by which the plight of agunot should be somewhat relieved.

The new law, if it will pass, will take away mehadrin food rights for anyone sitting in jail due to his refusal to give his wife a get. If the husband has made his wife an agunah, and he is sitting in jail because of it, which is not a common step to be taken, "would not be housed in the prison’s religious wing; would not be given the more strictly supervised mehadrin kosher food and would not be allowed to make any phone calls other than to their rabbinic pleader or their attorney."
source: Haaretz

Lipman's proposal has support form other MKs and, more importantly, was crafted in coordination with Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau.

Lipman explains that this additional step will break the spirit of those hiding behind religion to hurt their wives. Lipman admits it is a small step, but as he explained to me this is something that can harm their standing in the community and therefore can be effective in a way that even jail was not.

The proposal takes into account that this can be seen as undermining the rights of a prisoner, but gets around it by examining that the get-refuser can be released from the restrictions at any time by following the ruling and giving his wife a get, thus putting the keys in his own hand.

I wonder if this will pass the test of legality or be knocked down, even if it should pass in the Knesset, by the Supreme Court.

I hope it passes because each additional step, even small ones, taken to help the agunot is important.

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  1. Now I'll state off the top that I abhor get refuses. However...
    1) Get refusal is still a legal right under halacha. It's odious to do so but the man has every right. It's like saying you can spit in public then arresting someone for public disgusting behaviour.
    2) An electric cattle prod to the testicles would take less time and cost the state less.

    1. The only time someone is imprisoned for get refusal is when a Bet Din has already ruled that he is obligated to give a get.

  2. I say abolish the orthodox Jewish law and allow a woman to be free without a get. Why should a man have such a grip on his wife? It's absurd! This old fashion chauvinist law should be scrapped once and for all. Why should a man have such abhorrent powered?

    1. Jessic, Orthodox Jews (like myself) believe that this law is Divinely ordained, and is therefore not able to be abolished.

    2. Jessica, it's not just a man. Women also have the right to refuse to accept a get. An article in Arutz7 only a couple of years ago reported that worldwide, there was actually slightly more men being refused gets than women, something like 160 on each side, worldwide.

  3. I am fully in support of throwing anyone who refuses a get in jail, and restricting their rights (e.g., no phone calls, even solitary confinement), however I think everyone is entitled to be fed and that would include someone who only eats mehadrin food.

    Also, this punishment is discriminatory - it would have no impact on get-refusers who eat regular Rabbanut food; why should some get -refusers be punished more than others?

    By the way, it takes a very warped person to be prepared to sit in jail just to hurt someone else, when he could get out by agreeing to sign a form, still there are a handful of people in that situation.

  4. The downside of this law may be less cooperation against refusers by the Batei Din, which wouldn't want to send mehadrin-makpid men to jail.

  5. Other countries (usa specifically; but usa is dependent on 50 separate states and 50 separate rules) will use this as an argument against giving their prisoners kosher food.


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