Marriage and Divorce in the Jewish State

Israel's Civil War

Susan M. Weiss and Netty C. Gross-Horowitz

Israel currently has two recognized systems of law operating side by side: civil and religious. Israeli religious courts possess the exclusive right to conduct and terminate marriages. There is no civil marriage or divorce in Israel, irrespective of one’s religious inclinations. All Muslims must marry and divorce in accordance with shariya laws, all Catholics in accordance with canon law, and all Jews in accordance with Torah law (halakha). The interpretation and implementation of Torah law is in the hands of the Orthodox religious establishment, the only stream of Judaism that enjoys legal recognition in Israel. The rabbinic courts strenuously oppose any changes to this so-called status quo arrangement between religious and secular authorities. In fact, religious courts in Israel are currently pressing for expanded jurisdiction beyond personal status, stressing their importance to Israel’s growing religious community. This book shows how religious courts, based on centuries-old patriarchal law, undermine the full civil and human rights of Jewish women in Israel. Making a broad argument for civil marriage and divorce in Israel, the authors also emphasize that religious marriages and divorces, when they do occur, must benefit from legislation that makes divorce easier to obtain. Making this issue their focal point, they speak to a larger question: Is Israel a democracy or a theocracy?

Cloth: $85 | E-book: $35.99
ISBN-13: 9781611683639
Pages: 240 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: December 11, 2012

About the Author

Susan Weiss

Susan Weiss, PhD. is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Women’s Justice (CWJ). Susan has been actively working to find solutions for the problems of Jewish women and divorce for over 20 years, first as a private attorney, then as the founder and director of Yad L’Isha from 1997-2004, and now as the founder and executive director of CWJ. Susan initiated the innovative tactic of securing compensatory damage awards for women whose husbands withheld a get by filing damage …

Netty Gross Horowitz

Netty Gross-Horowitz, an acclaimed reporter and writer who penned scores of in-depth features about the Jewish world, including groundbreaking investigations for The Jerusalem Report into restitution for Holocaust victims, died on November 15 in New York City. She was 66. With her stylish flair, Gross-Horowitz brought a sophisticated, Upper West Side chic to Jerusalem, where she lived for nearly three decades before moving back to her native New York in the course of a lengthy …

Table Of Contents