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Agunot Campaigners Push Home Their Advantage

In the wake of the newly passed  Spouses Property Law, which will  alleviate the plight of some women whose husbands refuse to grant them a divorce, NIF grantee International Coalition for Agunah Rights (ICAR) is conducting a publicity campaign.  The campaign aims to raise awareness of the tens of thousands of Israeli women trapped in unhappy marriages who are unable to get a divorce.

International Agunah Day, which is marked in the Jewish world on the Fast of Esther (Monday, March 9), was the focus for a diverse range of activities. ICAR, which is a coalition of 25 women’s and social justice organizations, many of them also NIF grantees, coordinated these activities.

Activists on 20 college campuses distributed flyers highlighting ICAR’s pre-nuptial agreement in which partners sign a legally binding agreement committing themselves to pay an accumulative daily fine should one partner subsequently refuse a get – a Jewish religious divorce. Find out more about the agreement here.

ICAR has also produced an ad that will be shown on Israeli TV channels. Among the major articles to appear in the Israeli media about Agunot was a long feature in the country’s most popular women’s magazine L’Isha (for women). In addition, Israeli fashion house Comme Il Faut is marketing tote bags, made from recyclable materials, bearing ICAR’s slogan “Marriage is not a Prison.”

“The past year has seen a major breakthrough,” explained Robyn Shames, Executive Director of ICAR, “with the passing of the Spouses Property Law by the Knesset in November. The law enables the civil courts to conclude dividing assets before the rabbinical court grants a get, reducing opportunities for blackmail by husbands who refuse to fairly divide the couple’s assets.”

“International Agunah Day activities,” she added, “offered us an opportunity to maintain this positive momentum and push home our advantage.”

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$250 million to Israeli social change groups since 1979.