A 53-year-old Israeli Jewish woman is on a hunger strike outside Israel’s parliament building because the state has forbidden her from divorcing her husband.
Jewish law requires both husband and wife to agree to a divorce, but Zvia Gordestky’s husband won’t give one to her. His refusal to separate from her landed him in jail 16 years ago by order of a rabbinical court, Haaretz reported. But the couple remain married.
In order to provide relief to the so-called “chained women” like Gordetsky, Israeli lawmakers proposed a bill that would let the state annul marriages of women whose husbands have refused to divorce them for more than a year.
According to Haaretz, the bill is based on the fact that a Jewish marriage agreement entails a financial payment, typically the wedding ring. Under the bill, the state could take back the money that was used to buy the ring, thus voiding the marriage contract.
However, on Sunday a ministerial committee postponed discussion of the bill for three months, which will likely doom it to fail.
Gordetsky has been protesting outside of the Knesset building since last Wednesday. “I need a solution,” she said. “I’ve waited 17 years, that’s long enough.”