According to statistics published this week by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, the annual divorce rate among Israeli Jews climbed 5% in 2012, as nearly 11,000 spouses divorced – many in Tel Aviv, followed by Jerusalem.
In addition, about 88,000 couples filed for divorce last year, which represents a 9% increase over 2011. Overall, the country’s divorce rate is hovering around 35%.
While an increase in divorce is something that most other industrialized nations are trying to stem, some commentators in Israel are pleased with the trend, because they see it as evidence that more women are able to overcome their husband’s refusal to grant them a divorce. In 2012, 163 women were granted a divorce certificate – up from 97 in 2011. Statistics also showed an increase in arrest warrants and court orders for husbands who refused to comply with the law.
Despite this, Batya Kahana-Dror, director of the NGO Mavoi Satum, believes that the statistics paint an incomplete picture.
“The courts are hiding from public view their conservative position, which sees… imposing a divorce as forbidden, and divorce as nonkosher,” Kahana-Dror told Yedioth Ahronoth. “The result of the court’s policy is thousands of Israeli women imprisoned by their husbands, who cannot continue their lives and have a new family or children.”
Article note: Israel’s Chief Rabbinate oversees marriage for Jewish citizens only, and the statistics that it publishes don’t cover divorce for non-Jews in Israel, which are handled by separate agencies.