In Extraordinary Call, Rabbinical Court Appeals to Public to Locate Recalcitrant Husband

Oded Guez did not show up for a review of the divorce despite months of sanctions, say court's directors.

Yair Ettinger
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G. with Tzviya Moskowitz, her rabbinic adviser in her bid to attain a get (divorce) from her recalcitrant husband Oded Gez.
G. with Tzviya Moskowitz, her rabbinic adviser in her bid to attain a get (divorce) from her recalcitrant husband Oded Gez.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Yair Ettinger

Directors of the Chief Rabbinical Court have issued an exceptional call to the public, asking for help in tracking down Oded Guez, an Israeli man refusing to grant his wife a divorce. Guez was supposed to appear at the court this week for a review of his divorce. His refusal to turn up has deemed his wife an abandoned woman. The woman and her two children are seeking refuge at a shelter for abused women in Jerusalem.

A man's agreement to a get, or a Jewish divorce, is required by Jewish religious law, which is the only authority for marriage and divorce for Jews in Israel. If the man denies to grant the divorce, his wife becomes an aguna, a "chained" woman who is abandoned by her husband and lacks the opportunity to remarry.

Guez, who has a Ph.D. in physics, has not yielded to sanctions that were imposed on him by the court a few months ago, which included a call to ostracize him. With the court's approval, his name was publicized in a social media campaign and he was fired from Bar-Ilan and Tel Aviv Universities. The religious judges considered intensifying these sanctions, including imposing a jail sentence on the recalcitrant husband.

Guez was seen earlier this week in Jerusalem's Old City. The court’s directors believe that he has disappeared and worry that if he’s not found soon his wife will be stranded for years. The court requested anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts to call the court’s divorce department at 050 6094345.

The directors had thought that some progress had been made recently and that Guez was ready to cooperate with attempts to conclude the divorce process. However, it now seems that the man mislead the court. The court says that his wife's future hinges on locating him quickly. “The court department that deals with abandoned women has used a variety of means to locate Guez," stated the directors' announcement. "We call upon the public to cooperate and help liberate the woman ahead of Passover, the holiday of liberty, in which the entire nation marks its exit from slavery.”

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