She thought she found her true love. She just couldn’t resist his smile and let herself fall into his strong arms. Being with him felt safe.
She loved to hear his stories and laugh at his jokes. She was excited to see the shine in his eyes every time they met, shining like the eyes of a child.
In her heart, she knew. The man in front of her was the man of her dreams, and she- she was his princess.
Both of them knew they will walk together towards their new future. They imagined their future life together, filled with love and happiness, and full with kids’ laughter. The wedding was perfect. Everyone was excited as he gave her the ring with those words: “Harey at mekudeshet li betaba’at zo” (in Hebrew it means, you are sacred to me with this ring). As in every Jewish wedding, the prince signed the “Ktuba”. The Ktuba is actually a marriage contract. It has details of the commitments of the man to his wife. It also says the man sort of “buys” the woman…
It was a happy wedding. People danced until the morning. It was so fun and there was so much love in the air.
But no one could see what was to come.
Life is not a fairy tale. Seven years later, after they had three lovely kids, she knew it was over. She was no longer a princess, and he was no longer her prince. They were just two people taking care of the children and the house. And even that didn’t always work.
She was a strong woman, and she knew it… so she made a decision. Determined and yet, so sad, she told him. “We can’t be together anymore”.
It was not a surprise to him. He knew how she felt. Yet, he tried to convince her to stay. “One last try” he said… but they have tried so many times.
As an Israeli Jew, she had no choice but to go to the “Rabanut”. The Rabanut is the legal institution that deals with all Jewish-religion issues in Israel. If you want to divorce, it must go through the Rabanut. Unfortunately this body is controlled by specific people with a specific agenda…
She had to face the harsh reality: it was going to be a long and painful process.
Her husband, the man of her dreams, the father of her children, didn’t agree to give her a “Get” (divorce).
Do you know what happens in such a case? It is simple. His word counts, and she cannot divorce. Without the husband’s agreement, she is actually tied to him until he dies or goes crazy (literally). She will be considered a married woman forever.
The man of her dreams actually turned her into a prisoner. She would never be allowed to marry another man or have more children.
Her most basic right to freedom was violated. And what about him? You shouldn’t worry about him, the prince can do whatever he wants. His life will continue as normal.
Why? Well, according to the Rabanut law, the man has the power. He decides if he wants to give the “Get” to his wife or not.
It is as simple as that, it is a human right violation in the name of religion.
The name of that poor woman is Noa. But you know what? Her name is also Sarit. Her name is also Anna and Bar. She can be me, she can be any of us.
This ugly phenomenon hurts the life of thousands of women in Israel. Those women have no freedom and their life depends entirely on their husband will.
People are now starting to talk about this topic. The awareness is rising and you can even find organizations and support groups dedicated to the issue. There are a few “creative ways” to get out of this issue within the system. Creative maybe, but often unfair. One of those absurd solutions is for the woman to give up on important things like her apartment or on child support. In other words, she would pay or buy her divorce… “Thanks” to this so called solution, , Noa was free again after 5 years of a painful and cruel process. She won a second chance to live her life.
Yet, many others did not.
We have come a long way, but there is a lot more to be done. Men must understand they don’t own us.
It is our responsibility to raise a generation with the values of respect and equality for both genders. It is our responsibility to make a change.
The picture below says it all…