Get Refuser’s Complaint to Be Ignored Until He Returns to Israel

Man refused to divorce wife after Rabbinical Court instructed him to do so.

An illustrative image of a religious couple asking for a divorce at a rabbinical court, June 1, 2015.
Tali Mayer

The Judiciary ombudsman will not deal with a complaint filed by a man who refused to divorce his wife before he returns to Israel and attends court hearings in his case. The ombudsman, retired Justice Eliezer Rivlin, said he would only consider the complaint against the rabbinical court panel that heard the complainant’s case after he undertakes to carry out the rulings regarding him.

The Rabbinical Court ruled in 2012 that “this is an extremely difficult divorce refusal case,” and instructed the complainant to divorce his wife. “But since then he has been living outside Israel and refused to sign the divorce papers,” Rivlin said.

The man complained that the Rabbinical Court rulings did not reflect the sessions, and the presiding rabbi dictated to the other judges on the panel what to write.

After receiving the complaint Rivlin discussed the case with the judges and the couple’s lawyers. The judges said they withheld their ruling to try to find solutions, and that if they do not succeed the case may be handed over to the Supreme Rabbinical Court.

Rivlin concluded there was no place to complain against the Rabbinical Court, which refrained from issuing a verdict for three years, while the complainant was the one who had left the country, despite a restraining order banning him from doing so.