Today, the Center for Women's Justice participated in a special Knesset committee meeting entitled "Mechanisms for the Prevention of Agunot: Prenuptial Agreements."
At this meeting, convened by the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, CWJ challenged legislators, community leaders and the public to take a hard look at the agunah problem and our own role in resolving it.
CWJ attorney Nitzan Caspi Shilony listened as an agunah accused the state of neglecting its duties to its citizens: “It is domestic violence sponsored by the state and sponsored by religion.” The woman noted that preventing women from equal access to divorce is a violation of human rights.
In partnership with Kolech Religious Women's Forum, CWJ unveiled its groundbreaking "Pledge of Compassion and Dignity," a postnuptial agreement to prevent the chaining of women whose husbands become mentally incapacitated, fall into a coma, or are otherwise rendered unable to give a get. This halachic document, found here, preempts these tragic cases. While similar documents were used in the IDF under Rabbi Goren, this is the first time that such a halachic document has been made accessible for widespread civilian use.
While the room was packed with NGOs, MKs and public officials, notably absent from the meeting were representatives of the rabbinic courts or the Rabbinate. This is why CWJ legal strategy focuses on civil solutions, and why our religious mechanisms do not rely on the partnership of the Rabbinate to take effect. As was clearly underscored by today's Knesset meeting, progress will come from agitators like CWJ who—instead of calling for courageous leaders to pick up their slack—take responsibility into our own hands.