In an unprecedented move, rabbinates from Israel and Europe will set up a database with the names and photos of Jewish husbands who refuse to grant their wives a divorce or who remain missing. The move has been discussed over the last few days at a conference for European rabbinical judges being held in Brussels, Belgium.
The database will aid with a general effort to fight the phenomenon of husbands denying their wives a divorce, by having local communities carry out sanctions against the men.
The Rabbinical Center of Europe has made it clear that the Jewish communities under their jurisprudence will deny husbands refusing to grant a divorce any and all religious services and honors, including allowing them to join a “minyan” or offering them hospitality in Jewish homes. The move could aid in putting pressure on the husbands to agree to a Jewish divorce, or gett.
Israel’s Rabbinical Courts Administration’s Agunot Department Head Rabbi Eliyahu Maimon spoke at the conference, describing the at times long and acrimonious battles that refusing to grant a gett can bring about. His appeal to address the matter started a discussion among the rabbis, which eventually resulted in their decision to set up an information center for cases in Europe and Israel that would include identifying details of these husbands.
Another course of action was offered by General Director of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe Rabbi Menachem Margolin, who suggested that his organization work with leaders of the European Union and strengthen the status of rabbinical courts in European countries in order to apply sanctions on gett refusers. Margolin added that much like in Israel, rabbinical courts in Europe would request their host country to even impose jail time on men who withhold getts from their wives, as is the case in Israel.