Man must OK divorce to get out of prison

Feb. 6, 2012 at 10:35 AM

JERUSALEM, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Israel's supreme rabbinical court of appeals upheld a ruling to keep a man imprisoned until he grants his wife a bill of divorce.

Meir Gorodetzki was sent to prison by the court for refusing to give his wife a divorce, or "get," in 2001, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

The maximum sentence for the offense is 10 years imprisonment.

But the court ruled that Gorodetzki be held indefinitely after his wife, Tzviya Esther, requested he not be released, fearing he would flee the country and she would never be able to remarry.

Under Jewish law, a man must grant his wife a get before they can be divorced and the wife can remarry.

"If the appellant is released from prison before he has divorced his wife, she will remain an agunah [a woman bound to her husband] forever… Anyone who allows this would be considered as if they had shed her blood," rabbinical supreme court President Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said during the hearing.

Metzger told Gorodetzki: "The keys to your release are in your own hands … through the fulfillment of your obligations as a Jew. Release your wife and then you will receive your freedom."

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