A Holon resident jailed for "get refusal" since 2007 escaped on Wednesday from the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court
during a debate regarding a possible divorce agreement.
The man, 40-year-old Shay Cohen, apparently climbed out of a bathroom window on the second floor and ran off. Police are currently searching for him with the aid of a helicopter.
Cohen's hands and legs were not bound. Police estimate that the escape was planned and that a man was waiting for Cohen on the street, since he had neither a phone nor a wallet.
The window from which Cohen escaped (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Cohen's wife claimed her husband had pre-planned the escape. "He's not the sort of person who does things for no reason," she stressed. "After we finally managed to agree on the 'get,' we found out he tricked us thanks to the Prison Service's negligence."
The IPS guards, the wife claims, "were behaving like they were his buddies." The IPS has established a committee to investigate the affair.
Cohen's lawyer, Attorney Ariel Maman, said that he is in shock. "Today we reached a settlement which seemed to convince him to agree to the divorce," Maman recounted, adding that his client still had time to rethink and take back his decision.
Police combing the streets (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"I don't understand why he chose to go to the restroom and disappear," the baffled lawyer remarked.
Israel's Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger,
sitting on the rabbinical judges panel, urged Cohen to turn himself in. "We've reached agreements after six years of suffering for your wife. Your way to freedom is short, turn yourself in and we'll find solutions," Metzger said.
Since Metzger is stepping down at the end of March, Cohen was expected to remain in jail pending the formation of a new judges panel, a fact which seemed to help convince him to finally grant the "get".
His wife's lawyer, Attorney Osnat Kraplos, said: "That threat led to a breakthrough – it was decided that he'll meet his children five times (following a seven year lapse) and grant the 'get'."
Cohen and his wife have been separated for more than 12 years.
Kobi Nahshoni contributed to this report
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