For the first time in modern history there is a reported case in which the Rabbinical Court panel required a husband to give his wife a Get (bill of Jewish divorce) on the sole ground of emotional abuse. There were no allegations of physical abuse whatsoever, and the finding of emotional abuse was based on the husband withholding sexual relations and degrading his wife. The case, bearing the index number 966775/4 and is reported as “Anonymous (male) v. Anonymous (female),” was decided on February 18, 2016, by the Rabbinical Court of the Areas of Netanya, Israel, and was comprised of a three-arbitrator panel led by Rabbi Shlomo Shapira, accompanied by Rabbi Avraham Meisels and Rabbi Aryeh Ouriel.
This opinion is particularly notable as the Rabbinical Courts of the State of Israel require a finding of sufficient grounds before ordering a divorce, this case has now adjudicated this issue and found that emotional abuse constitutes sufficient grounds. Meanwhile, other developed countries, and states throughout the U.S. that, like Israel, do not provide litigants with a “no-fault” grounds for divorce, have also failed to establish emotional abuse as sufficient grounds for divorce. This has now been adjudicated by a Rabbinical Court that Jewish law also provides this as sufficient substantial grounds. As an attorney who has been practicing family law for over 20 years, I have seen time and time again what the psychological community has already established through extensive research: emotional abuse is abuse, and should be adjudicated accordingly.
*Mindy Fersel, Esq. of the firm assisted in the preparation of this blog