After 14-year struggle, Agunah, “Chained Woman,” finally gets divorce

Vicky Tzur (left), Advocate Tamar Oderberg (right)
Vicky Tzur (left), Advocate Tamar Oderberg (right)

The Jerusalem-based Yad La’isha organization of Ohr Torah Stone which helps women escape “chained marriages” announced the successful resolution of a case that had gone on for over 14 years in two countries. The ongoing Corona crisis had made the case even more challenging as legal and rabbinic authorities worked to get the proper documentation in place to secure a get for the wife, Vicky Tzur, as soon as possible.

Vicky had married her husband in Argentina before moving to Israel and having four children together. In December of 2006, Tzur’s husband decided to end the marriage and filed for divorce. While the proceedings were underway – a divorce process that he had instigated- he left the country and has since been in Argentina, refusing to give his wife a get.

Only in 2013 was the case finally referred to the Agunot (trapped wives) branch of the Rabbinate but for three years the file was left virtually untouched. In early 2016, the branch began communicating with the husband with the aid of the Chief Rabbi of Argentina, Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich. Vicky made continued concessions in an effort to have the case closed but despite agreeing to erase any debts her husband held towards her, he continued to refuse to issue the get.

In 2019, when Vicky came to Yad La’isha: The Monica Dennis Goldberg Legal Aid Center, they filed a civil lawsuit against her husband for damages resulting from his refusal to grant her a divorce. By November of 2019, she was awarded 720,000 shekels in damages even as Yad La’isha advocates Moriah Dayan and Tamar Oderberg continued extensive negotiations to secure the get with the aid of the Argentinian Chief Rabbi.

Since then, various documents have been exchanged between the parties for a period of about five months to ensure compliance. Although Vicky meticulously met all of his conditions, her husband did not stop adding demands.

But as a result of the continued pressure and the successful tort suit, Vicky’s husband finally signed a divorce agreement last week – receiving special permission to leave his house during the corona pandemic in order to do so. The get was received in Israel late last week and today, June 7th, the final papers were presented for approval in the Netanya court. After 14 years of being refused her freedom, Vicky finally has a get in hand.

“No woman deserves to live in constant torture for 14 years waiting to be released. Thanks to the incredible work of advocates Moriah Dayan and Tamar Oderberg and together with the collaboration with Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich, as of today we are finally seeing this case resolved,” said Pnina Omer, director of Ohr Torah Stone’s Yad La’isha. “This injustice is nothing less than a cynical exploitation of Jewish law. We will continue to fight for the freedom of women like Vicky in every way possible. We also thank the Agunot branch for their ongoing support throughout the years of negotiations.”

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After 14-year struggle, Agunah, "Chained Woman," finally gets divorce 1

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Rivka Nadin
Rivka Nadin
1 year ago

Isn’t it time to do away with dependence on the husband for a get? It is unequal treatment of women under the law. The rabbis certainly can come to some agreement ensuring that women are respected. Even if it is a condition that after a certain number of attempts (3 maximum), the woman is entitled to the get. Otherwise, this is just plain cruelty, and the rabbis would be guilty. If Hillel could change the laws regarding cancellation of debt during the redemption year, then today’s rabbis can also modify/amend a Torah law.