Here’s something I didn’t know about Israel, via Failed Messiah:
Does Israel really have religious freedom?
Many observers believe it does not, and the country’s secular High Court of Justice showed again last week that those observers are correct when it ruled that official state rabbinical courts can blacklist women – but not men – they believe have committed adultery, putting their names on secret lists that prevent them from marrying ‘pure’ Jews of unblemished linage and effectively preventing them from marrying at all.
In response to a petition filed against that blacklisting, Ha’aretz reported the High Court ruled that Israel’s haredi-controlled state chief rabbinate had sufficiently fixed the problems with the blacklist and, based on that it tossed out the petition filed against it by a woman who divorced in 2002 and only afterward found out that her name had been placed on that blacklist by a state the Rabbinical Court without her knowledge and without the ability for her and her alleged lover to present evidence against the move. Her petition was supported by women’s rights groups who all noted that only women (and any children they may have with a man who is not their husband) are subject to this blacklisting – not men who cheat on their wives.
That’s rather tangled. The High Court ruled that official state rabbinical courts can put women – and women only – on blacklists for having “committed adultery.” It sounds like the end of Mansfield Park, where Maria is sent off to live in outcast isolation because she “committed adultery.” The man went on his way rejoicing.
Petitioners argued that this blacklisting invades women’s privacy and undermines gender equality. Blacklisting also prevents women from forming a new family – a right Israeli law should protect, the petitioners claimed. They also argued state rabbinical courts are not legally allowed to rule on adultery issues when the divorce is, as was in this specific case, consensual.
But Israel is far closer to a theocracy than a democracy, and the claims of the woman and her supporters fell on the High Court’s nearly deaf ears.
This god thing is such a nuisance. It’s what some people came up with a long time ago, and we’re still stuck with it – which is ridiculous. Everything else is allowed to change as we change, our views change, technology changes, but the religious nonsense that traps and constrains so many people is stuck in amber.