17 years an agunah & counting: This must prompt change

Zvia Gordetsky has waited 17 years to be free of the man who prefers jail to granting her a divorce. Her case is unusual because unlike what happens too often, the religious courts did nearly everything they “should” do, and still she is not free.

Normally in Israel, where the religious courts have power to punish withholders, a woman only waits for a get because the court did not order the husband to give her one. In this case, within six months of asking for a divorce, the religious court ordered Zvia’s husband to grant it. When he refused, they told him he would be put in jail. He showed up to the next hearing with a packed suitcase, ready to move into prison. Since then, he has been offered the chance to grant the divorce — and leave prison — every six months. His response is: “They won’t break me.”

That the “system” worked as it should and Zvia — who told me her story personally — is still chained, has made this case shocking to those who are used to tragic stories of get abuse. That Zvia has chosen the desperate act of a hunger strike for her freedom makes it clear that she feels everything else has failed.

Read more in the UK Jewish Chronicle