A bill which will expand the powers of Israeli-based rabbinical courts over Jewish women who are caught in the unique situation of agunot (women who wish to separate from spouses who refuse to do so]) passed an initial reading in the Knesset on Monday. The bill was submitted by the Minister of Religious Services David Azulai.
While rabbinical courts in Israel are able to act against men who refuse to consent to a divorce process in a Jewish court of law, even placing the men in prison until they yield, rabbinical courts outside of Israel often lack these means.
The bill seeks to add an amendment to the law which will regulate the powers of rabbinical courts in Israel so that they will have the authority to deal with Jewish people who are not Israeli citizens.
Minister Azulai stated that he strongly believes that Israel, being the Jewish state, should “spread its wings over all the Jews in the world” and help women who are agunot.