A woman who has been refused a divorce for 18 years filed a negligence suit against the Justice Ministry and her estranged husband, Wednesday.
The Justice Ministry was named in the suit, since the Rabbinical Courts are under its governance.
The woman, who is represented by attorneys Susan Weiss and Yifat Biton from the Justice for Women Center, is seeking $1.14 million in damages and is claiming that the Ashdod and Haifa Rabbinical Courts – which handled the divorce – were criminally negligent.
The woman first filed for a divorce in 1976, citing domestic violence, but the rabbinical court ordered her and her husband to try and reach matrimonial reconciliation.
The violence, as she stated later, continued escalating, with her husband growing more and more abusive, raping her and threatening to kill her. She eventually left the couple's home, along with their six children.
Both courts, said the suit, dragged on the hearings, overruled each other's decisions, failed to fine the husband for missing court dates and worst of all – overstepped their authority by annulling the divorce, when it was finally obtained.
Furthermore, claimed the plaintiff, the courts' manner of accepting the husband's demand to annul previous rulings against him, as a condition for him granting the divorce, knowingly breached her rights.
The suit claimed the woman was victimized twice – once by an abusive husband who refused to grant her a divorce and a second time by callous, hostile courts.
The Justice Ministry has yet to file its motion to dismiss the suit.