A Rabbanut Beis Din gave a bill of divorce ‘get’ to a woman which the Chief Rabbinate of Israel today wishes to disqualify. The matter came before Israel’s High Court of Justice on Wednesday, 13 Teves, while several dozen women’s activists protested outside the courtroom.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Mavoi Satum organization represented by a member of its leadership, attorney Batya Kahana-Dror. The petitioner is seeking to have Rishon L’Tzion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef Shlita removed from the case as he is acting in his capacity as Av Beis Din on the Chief Rabbinate Supreme Beis Din and wishes to disqualify the ‘get’ retroactively. Among the women protesting in support of the petitioner outside the court was MK Aliza Lavie of the Yesh Atid party. She insists the Rabbinate is now acting contrary to halacha and Judaism as well as compromising the Chief Rabbinate’s integrity as dayanim in the future will fear issuing a ‘get’ for it might be overturned. She adds that fewer couples will wish to get married via the Chief Rabbinate as well, wishing to distance themselves from the state system.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has ruled that the Chief Rabbinate Supreme Beis Din may not hear the case, opening the door for the Supreme Court hearing. Mandelblit ruled that the Supreme Beis Din played no role in the case to date and therefore cannot be called upon to involve the body today against the beis din that ruled in the case originally. He warns of “widespread serious ramifications” including a stranger would be entitled to have his voice heard in regard to a divorce between two people.

The Tzfat get case began in 5767 when a Tzfat resident was injured in a vehicular accident. The person’s condition was very serious and he remained in a coma. His wife filed for divorce five years after the accident, and the Tzfat Beis Din decided to grant the get base on “זכין לאדם שלא בפניו”. In its ruling the beis din wrote “The beis din is interested in releasing the woman and not having locked in the marriage while that marriage has come to an end”. This led to a ‘גט זיכוי’.

Following the ruling, a Jerusalem resident totally disconnected to the case decided to file an appeal with a beis din, calling to disqualify the ‘get’, insisting it is מוטעה (flawed) from beginning to end. The Jerusalemite filed the appeal in the name of the comatose husband. He explained that due to the status of the husband, he was unable to obtain power of attorney as is required. His request was turned down but two years later, the Rabbinate Supreme Beis Din accepted the case and agreed to hear the appeal filed on behalf of the husband.

Rabbi Yosef was siding to invalidate the ‘get’ based on a ruling from his father, HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef ZT”L and the petitioners headed to the Supreme Court in the hope of sparing the woman the trauma of having her get invalidated. Her plight and the involvement of the Rishon L’Tzion has prompted the women’s rights organizations to become involved.

The High Court issued a 21-day order freezing the situation and prohibiting the Supreme Beis Din from addressing the case during the time period unless another decision is handed down indicating otherwise. The court will contemplate the case during the three-week period.