A court in Israel just ordered the nation’s largest commuter bus company to fire an employee because he refuses to divorce his wife. The company has 30-days to comply. Why would you lose your job for refusing to divorce? What if it is a religious divorce?
Divorce on One Foot
A Jewish couple from India, who have been married for over a decade, immigrated to Israel with their only child. The Husband has been accused of abusing his wife, and the situation worsened after they moved. Three years ago, the Wife filed for divorce, reconciled, and then renewed the religious divorce.
Israel’s divorce law is based on the Ottoman Empire’s old millet law. Unlike the United States, where divorces are handled by family courts, in Israel there are parallel courts involving divorce, the religious court and family court.
Additionally, divorce court may depend on which religious community you belong to because religious courts have jurisdiction of their own religious members. This means Muslims are divorced in Sharia courts, Christians divorce in ecclesiastical courts, and Jews divorce in Jewish courts.
In Judaism, religious law requires husbands to grant their wives a “get” – a Jewish bill of divorce to be a valid divorce. Ten months ago, a rabbinical court ordered the Husband to grant his Wife a divorce. But he refused, unless she waived her right to their joint property.
Florida Divorce and Religion
I’ve written about the intersection of religion and divorce a few times. Religion, religious beliefs, and religious practices are generally not considered in Florida divorces. Surprisingly for many, even when child custody is an issue, there are no specific statutory factors in determining custody on religious grounds.
Currently in Florida, child custody decisions are based in accordance with the best interests of the child.
As it relates to religion, Florida courts have decided that there must be a clear, affirmative showing that religious activities will be harmful to the child for religion to be a factor.
The religious divorce court has imposed various financial sanctions on the Husband for refusing to divorce, including requiring him to pay his wife $410 a month as a sanction. But he still refuses to divorce her.
Last week, a panel of rabbinical judges granted the Wife’s request and ordered an Israeli bus company to fire the Husband within 30-days.
Yad L’Isha praised the decision. “Every creative solution like this gives great hope to other women that there are other ways to release them from the prison of their marriage”. Yad L’Isha is the world’s largest organization dedicated to helping women unable to obtain a Jewish divorce.
The Haaretz article is here.
Photo courtesy of Rickjpelleg