U.S. Group to Demonstrate Near House of Man Who Denies Israeli Wife Divorce

After the woman suffered a stroke, the man abandoned her and their children.

Yair Ettinger
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A demonstration in support of 'chained wives.'Credit: Pierre Terdjman / BauBau
Yair Ettinger

An American Jewish organization plans a demonstration for Sunday outside the house of an American citizen who has refused for 11 years to grant his Israeli wife a divorce.

The case has already set a raft of legal precedents in Israel. The Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court sentenced the man’s father to 30 days in jail after concluding that he was the “animating spirit” behind his son’s refusal, while the attorney general ordered a criminal investigation against both parents.

Ora, an American organization that helps women whose husbands refuse to divorce them, hired a private investigator to track down the man, who is now in the United States. It then published his name, address and picture and urged the public to demonstrate opposite his house this Sunday.

Haaretz, however, may not publish his name because an Israeli court imposed a gag order to protect his children.

The family lived in the New York area until 2005. But that year, while on a visit to Israel, the woman suffered a stroke that left her physically impaired. The man then abandoned her and their children.

Since then, she and the children have lived in Israel, while her husband, who is being protected by the Hasidic community to which his father belongs, has been hiding out in America. Several ultra-Orthodox rabbis, most of them American, recently wrote letters supporting the husband and criticizing the Israeli court.