An Israeli man, who allegedly left the country with a false passport and is wanted by the police, was arrested in Antwerp on Thursday, the State Prosecutor’s Office said.
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Oded Guez, who has refused to grant his wife a divorce for many years, is suspected of leaving the country under a false identity after a Tel Aviv court convicted him of violating a court order.
The State Prosecutor’s Office and police had issued an international warrant for Guez’s arrest and asked for his extradition to Israel. The prosecution said Thursday that Guez had been located in Belgium with the help of information from the rabbinical courts’ administration.
Guez, who has a Ph.D. in physics, has resisted the Rabbinical Court’s pleas and sanctions to prompt him to divorce his wife. His refusal has made it impossible for her to remarry, since Jew law requires a man to agree to a get or religious divorce.
A few months ago the Supreme Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem took exceptionally harsh measures, including excommunicating Guez, in a bid to force him to grant his wife a divorce.
Last November the court summoned five senior academics and informed them that Guez, who worked at both Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University, had been refusing to divorce his wife for a long time.
The High Court of Justice denied Guez’s petition to prevent this move.
In February the Rabbinical Court allowed Guez’s wife to publish his full name in a social media campaign, as a means of pressuring him to grant her the divorce. As a result Guez was dismissed from both universities.
When Guez continued to resist, the judges considered intensifying the sanctions and even imposed a jail sentence on the recalcitrant husband.
The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court was due to rule on the case at the beginning of the month, but Guez didn’t show up for the session. Suspecting he had left the country, the court issued a warrant for his arrest. At the same time, the Rabbinical Court in Petah Tikva issued an order forbidding Guez to leave the country.
The prosecution said Israel asked Belgium to arrest Guez for using a fake passport and a false identity, not because he refused to divorce his wife.
Guez’s wife and her two children are seeking refuge at a shelter for abused women in Jerusalem.