They were married for more than five years, raised two children together, and lived a generally happy life until the woman found out that her husband was cheating on her – with a man.
She caught him in the act, immediately filed for a divorce with the Rabbinate, but the man refused to grant her a "get". On Tuesday, 10 years after the case was opened, the Rabbinical Court sent the man to prison – until he gives in.
The couple, who live in central Israel, we raised and married as haredim. Their marriage was shattered when the women discovered her husband's homosexual inclination, which he had hidden from her all those years.
The court ruled that the two must divorce, and ordered the man to grant his wife a "get". Despite his refusal, for years the judges failed to use their authority to impose sanctions on him in order to receive his consent for a divorce.
The husband, on his part, tried to extort different kinds of concessions from his wife before he agreed to a divorce, including benefits in child visitation arrangements and giving up on damages he had been ordered to pay.
But even after his requests were granted, the man refused to give his wife a divorce.
On Tuesday, during a hearing on a side issue of the case, unrelated to the divorce itself, the judges surprised the woman's lawyer when they accepted her request and ordered the man's arrest until he agrees to a divorce.
A police patrol car was dispatched to the courthouse and the man was arrested on the spot.
This is an unusual step, and perhaps even a precedent, as there had been no previous decision about forcing a divorce, which usually precedes sanctions, in this case.
The woman's representative, Attorney Batya Kahana-Dror of the Mavoi Satum organization, which assists women who have been denied a divorce, welcomed the arrest.
She said that the woman, who had almost lost hope, was about to turn to a private court and request that the marriage be annulled, claiming that she had not known her husband was gay when they were wed. In such a case she would not have been recognized as single by the State, but would have received halachic approval to marry someone else.
"I regret the fact that the court does not use the arrest sanction often enough," added Attorney Kahana-Dror. "It's illogical, unreasonable and contradicts Halacha."
According to the lawyer, it has been proven as a very efficient tool for granting a divorce. "Ninety-five percent of divorce recalcitrants are willing to grant a get after spending several nights at the Russian Compound or Abu Kabir. It works remarkably."