Non Recent NEWS
08/03/15 the Rackman center held a Pledge way meeting with the prospective female candidates for the upcoming Knesset elections. The meeting concluded significantly with all those who attended signing a pledge that should they get elected, they promise to do their best to push women's rights forward and work hard to change legislation and ensure better equality for women.
After an introduction by the Rackman Center's head, Prof Ruth Halperin-Kadarri each party representative stated their views on what they will try to do to advance women's rights.
This was followed by a discussion led by Rackman's executive director, Dr Galit Shaul together with producer and actress Ronit Elkabaz who spoke movingly about her highly acclaimed film, 'Gett'. This included watching a couple of clips from the film dealing with withholding the 'get'
The Rackman Center acts quickly to assist an ultra or thodox woman who was sent to jail after being unable to attend a rabbinical court hearing because she was recovering from surgery. According to the Rackman Center her husband, a contractor, owns six apartments and, under the family court’s decision that was handed down two years ago, he is meant to give her one of them and pay off its mortgage. The head of the Rackman Center, Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, said, “We are working hard to prevent her return to jail and bring this case to a rapid conclusion.”
Read about this case in this article in the Times of Israel: http://www.timesofisrael.com.
Congratulations to Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, the recipient of this year's Katan Award for the Advancement of Gender Justice through Voluntary Work. The Award was bestowed upon Halperin-Kaddari by the Ruach Nashit NGO in Israel in recognition of her long-term commitment to social activities and volunteerism on behalf of women and Israeli society, and for upholding the values that were dear to the late Prof. Yosef Katan, in whose memory the Award was founded. Halperin-Kaddari was recognized in particular for the establishment of the Rackman Center and the legislative and policy work the Center promotes towards the advancement of women's rights and legal aid for disadvantaged women; educational and scholarly work for gender justice; advancement of feminism within Jewish Orthodoxy; and her international influence through her work on the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
14/12/14 The Rackman Center initiated an important debate at the Knesset Committee on the Status of women and gender Equality. The debate was about the use of children as an expression of violence against women, and the brave Karen Levy spoke to the whole committee. Adv Adi Raz, who has been by her side throughout, and especially since the tragic murder of Karen's children, Sarah and Yishai by her ex-husband.
Karen - you an incredible mother, a strong woman, an inspiring person and a friend for life. I am so proud of you for coming to the Knesset today to talk about what happened to you so eloquently. Karen, you have taken your immense pain and set about making change and improving things for others who suffer violence. As was said in Knesset, instead of looking at what there is not, you look at what there is - the word 'יש' is the initials of your beloved children's names. Together, we will DO it for a better future. Forever here for you, Adi Raz.
Read Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari's blog piece about yesterday's important Knesset meeting on The Times of Israel.
Prof Halperin-Kaddari writes a follow up blog about the emotional silent march in memory of Karen's children ho were murdered by their father. We must remember them and stop this happening to others!
An article that was written by Dr. Galit Shaul about “The Cameras Were Everywhere”: Media Conduct Through the Eyes of Homicide Victims’ Families: Switzerland, Italy, and Israel.
On November 10th, The Rackman Center and The Ministry of Justice held a joint conference marking The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The conference was held at Bar Ilan University and included fascinating speakers and a viewing of the movie Gett: The Trial of Vivוane Amsalem - The Law is for us all.
As published in The Times of Israel, "the stirring drama, from brother-and-sister duo Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz, picked up the Best Picture prize on Sunday night at the Ophir Awards, which are the Israeli equivalent of the American Academy Awards." Read more here.
"The Times of Israel" "'Gett': An Inescapable Experience":
"?Is 'Gett' a Realistic Portrayal of Israeli Divorce"
Prof. Halperin-Kaddari was invited to be the keynote speaker at the CEDAW Seminar convened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Human Rights Center in Finland, after having served as the Raporteur for the Periodic Report of Finland to CEDAW during the Committee's 57th session earlier this year. Finland's Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Minister of Welfare and Health, had also addressed the Seminar. This is the first time a State Party to one of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies invites a Committee Expert who was in charge of evaluating the State Report to discuss the outcome of the dialogue with the Committee, and it may well serve as an example of good practice for other states to follow. Prof. Halperin-Kaddari's presentation was received with a lot of enthusiasm, and her honest remarks pointing to much that is still needed in Finland – usually viewed as a paradise for women – were highly appreciated.
CEDAW UN Committee reelects Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari for 3rd Time
On Thursday, Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Chair of The Rackman Center in Bar Ilan University, was elected for her third term to the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The election took place at the UN Headquarters in New York and this is the first time an Israeli candidate has been selected for the third time to a UN Human Rights Committee. This is particularly significant as the election has come at a time when Israel’s status at the UN is at an all-time low. Halperin-Kaddari won a staggering 128 votes out of 188 countries of the Convention of which 50 nations, including the newly acceded State of Palestine who refused to acknowledge Israel’s vote in the first place and abstained. In the past 8 years on the CEDAW Committee, Halperin-Kaddari has initiated the adoption of a new General Recommendation on the Economic Consequences of Family Relations and their Dissolution. This result is a landmark result for Israel and we are sure that she will represent Israel in the best way – benefiting Israel on the international and national front.
Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari established and now chairs The Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women at Bar Ilan University which is soon to celebrate its Bat Mitzva. Her fields of expertise are family law, feminist criticism of law and women’s rights in international law and she has an LLM and PhD in law from Yale University. Prof. Halperin – Kaddari is a firm believer in combining academic research with practical steps in order to bring about significant change in the status of women in family law both in Israel and elsewhere, and is proactive in the achievement of this goal.
Ruth Halperin-Kaddari Made the Haaretz.com list of 66 Israeli Women You Should Know.
If Israeli feminism has an international face, it is that of Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, director of the Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women at Bar-Ilan University. Between 2002 and 2007, the 47-year-old family law expert, who holds a doctorate from Yale Law School, served as chair of the advisory committee to the Authority for the Advancement of Women at the Prime Minister’s Office. Six years ago, she was the recipient of the U.S. State Department International Award for Women of Courage. But the Ramat Gan native has made her biggest impact in a forum not often friendly to Israel – the United Nations. Halperin-Kaddari, an Orthodox Jew, served as vice president of the UN Expert Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Her book, “Women in Israel: A State of Their Own,” was published in the United States in 2004.
The Rackman Center received the Gorney Prize
We are delighted to share with you the great news that The Rackman Center was awarded the highly acclaimed Gorney Prize of The Israeli Association of Public Law for our contribution to advancing Human rights in Israel.
Our staff was invited to attend a reception held in January 2014 in honor of prize recipients in Haifa, where Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, the Director of the Center, and Advocate Atara Kenigsberg-Reem, the Executive Director of the Center received the award on our behalf.
This is another great sign that our hard work is being recognized and how we have become the forefront organization for advancing women's rights in Israel.
On 1st June 2015 The Rackman Center held its annual Moot Court as part of the 'Lawyers of Tomorrow' legal aid clinic training at Bar Ilan University. The topic was "can property and support claims be attached to a suit for divorce based on civil marriage?". The Moot Court was judged by former President of the Supreme Court, Judge Dorit Beinisch, former Supreme Court Justice Edna Arbel and Rabbinical Court Judge Rabbi Yitchak Rapoport, to a packed and enthralled courtroom.
Grave importance: A new development pertaining to the coalition negotiations, a major achievement for the Rackman Center at risk.
Benyamin Netanyahu is now at the negotiating table with two ultra-orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism. These parties have demands that are detrimental to the status of women in Israel.
In June 2013, Knesset Members Dr. Aliza Lavi, Shuli Muallem, and Zehava Gal-On, together with the Rackman Center were successful in passing “The Law of Rabbinical Judges” which ensures the inclusion of women on the selection committee of Rabbinical judges. These Rabbinical judges play a crucial role in the outcome of Rabbinical court cases. These cases are of upmost importance because Marriage and divorce of Jewish Israeli citizens, secular and observant, are under the sole authority of the Rabbinical courts.
The ultra-orthodox parties are attempting to reverse this law. Women cannot be Rabbinical judges. Therefore it is crucial to ensure their effective involvement and influence in the process of selecting these Rabbinical judges.
To read more about the issue in an article in "The Jerusalem Post".
18th May 2015 The Rackman Center celebrated its Bat Mitzvah with a reception and special candle lighting ceremony. We were honored to hear Blu Greenberg, founding mother of orthodox feminism, speak to a full auditorium on the occasion of her receiving an honorary doctorate from Bar Ilan University.
5/11/15 - The Rackman Center is happy to report that through a by-partisan joint effort by female Members of Knesset from all parts of the House, a private Bill to abolish the tender year's presumption from the Guardianship Law was blocked.
If passed, the Bill would have abolished the preference of mothers as physical custodians when custody of children under 6 years old is disputed. The consequence of this would make the issue of custody in the divorce process highly disputable, making settlements dramatically more difficult to achieve. It would bring the issue of custody into the heart of the divorce dispute and would turn the children into bargaining chips. However, today, in a show of joint woman-power, the female Knesset members from the coalition, spearheaded by MK Rachel Azaria, Meirav Ben-Ari and Shuli Mualam, together with female members from the opposition, collaborated to prevent this harmful intiative against women and children and succeeded to put their differences aside and work together for the good of the entire Israeli society.
See image, from right to left: MKS Zahava Galon. Aida Touma-Sliman, Yael German, Aliza Lavie, Michal Rozin, Orli-Levi Avaksis and Meirav Michaeli.
Dr Galit Shaul attended a special event on October 29th hosted by Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel.
The topic was Diplomatic outreach on all forms of violence against children and women and was part of a global effort by the European Union to address violence against children and women.
In this image from right to left: M.K. Aida Touma-Sliman, Chair, Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality who presented at the event, Mrs. Vered Swid, Director General, Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women who also spoke, Dr Galit Shaul, CEO The Rackman Center, and M.K Michal Rozin who also spoke at the event.
29/11/15 - As part of our 'Pi' (a Hebrew acronym for supervision, enforcement and implementation of laws in Israel) Project, the Rackman Center, led by its Director, Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, has prepared a report offering a new, comprehensive plan for enforcing the law in an effort to eradicate child marriage in Israel.
Based on global practices and tailored to Israeli society, the report presents a series of measures, including: the enactment of a law entitling alimony to underage married females until they reach the age of 18, mandatory reporting of under-age marriage by various authorities to the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, and a national inter-ministerial program to prevent underage marriage that will engage in raising awareness, increasing accessibility of information, and providing real-time response.
The report was presented to the Knesset committee at a special meeting held in Sderot on 24th November 2015.
In the pictures, from right to left:
Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Dr. Galit Shaul, Adv. Keren Horowitz, Heidi Moses
On 25th November, Heidi Moses, who also attended the committee meeting, discussed her story of under age marriage with 'London and Kirschenbaum'. She described how she was forced into marriage and was engaged age 16 and married at 17, and both she and her husband were against the marriage but had no choice.
She joins The Rackman Center in supporting the law we passed to raise the legal age of marriage and our aim to ensure the law is enforced.
Fab 18: Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari is currently in Geneva participating in the 63rd session of the UN Experts Committee that oversees the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
On Tuesday (Feb. 17th) the committee reviewed the Periodic Report on the status of women in Japan and met with dozens of Japanese representatives of civil society (see picture). On Tuesday evening a reception was held in honor of the members of the committee at the home of the French Ambassador to the United Nations (pictured: Prof. Halperin-Kaddari together with Nicole Emmeline, a member and Past President of the committee, Elizabeth Laurin, France's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, the Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN and additional members of the committee).
On January 17, the media reported that the Committee for discerning eligibility to serve as a judge in the Grand Rabbinical Court submitted its recommendations to the Chief Rabbinate Council and the Committee's recommendations are as follows:
In order for a judge to be eligible in the Grand Rabbinical Court, they must meet three conditions: tenure as a judge in the Regional rabbinical court for at least ten consecutive years, a term as head of the Regional rabbinical Court and a written letter of recommendation by the President of the Supreme Rabbinical Court.
The Rackman Center turned to the Chief Rabbinate Council to reject the recommendations since this is not according to the judges law of 1955 and is therefore unreasonable.
On Jan 6 we held a conference at Bar Ilan University launching the new Israeli organization for Collaborative Divorce.
Adv Adi Raz, Head of Collaborative Divorce at the Rackman Center, is one of the founders of this new organization and organizer of the conference.
At The Rackman Center, we truly support the model of collaborative divorce and stress the importance of promoting this to divorcing couples in Israel. We welcome the establishment of the national Israeli organization and are pleased to be a part of it, and are leading the teaching about it in academia
The members of the Executive Committee of the National Organization for Collaborative Divorce in Israel:
Members of the organization welcomed special guest Ms. Shireen B. Meistrich, President of the IACP organization:
6/1/15 - Sarah Gonzales (left), Cultural Attaché for US Embassy, and Alan Schnitzer (right), Exchanges Specialist for US Embassy, joined us at The Rackman Center today.
It was a pleasure to be able to tell them all about our work and see how much they care and support our work towards improving women's rights in family law in Israel.
We look forward to many more future visits!
A historic moment took place in the city Modiin on March 2nd 2016: The First National Convention of the Israeli Forum for the Promotion of Gender Equality in Israel 2030 was held. The Rackman Center's CEO, Dr. Galit Shaul attended the convention as a member of the Israeli Forum for Promoting Gender Equality. The UN in 2015 defined "Achieving gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls'" a main objective for the next 15 years. With this objective in mind, the First National Conference was held and served as an opener for this year's International Women's Day events. The conference included a presentation of the current status of women in Israel with the objective of formulating a joint statement by the Israeli Forum for Promoting Gender Equality, in accordance with the objectives of the United Nations. The joint statement with be submitted to the Pascal Observatory and to Unesco and will be presented at the World Conference in June 2016.
Prioritizing gender equality must be a shared goal and will create a more just and cohesive society for all.
We wish to congratulate our founding head, Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari on receiving the Rappaport Prize in collaboration with Israeli Magazine 'La'Isha' for female action in making breakthroughs and making change in Israeli society.
The award is given to women whose performance in the public sphere, whether in the social, or economic community in Israel is unique and noteworthy. A big Mazal Tov to Ruth on this important recognition of your outstanding work in making legal and social changes for women in Israel and fighting for women's equality.
Bar Ilan University partnered with JOFA for a special event in London yesterday, hosted by Mr & Mrs Romie Tager QC on the subject: 'The State of Agunah and Gett Abuse Today: Developments, Advances, Shortcomings and Obstacles'
Founding Head of the Rackman Center, Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari spoke to a packed audience and was joined by Dr Galit Shaul, the Rackman Center CEO.
During our London visit, Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari also presented two more sessions including one held at London's Clifford Chance: 'Is there nothing new under the sun? Women's rights in Israel in the 21st century'
and 'The State of Agunah and Gett Abuse Today: Developments, Advances, Shortcomings and Obstacles'. Dr Galit Shaul also attended and they were so touched by the hospitality and welcome they received. All the sessions were full and they met interesting and influential people in the field. We hope that this is the beginning of further collaborations in the future.
Read the article "They … Do Whatever They Want to Do Towards Women Like Me" posted at POLITICO MAGAZINE by MIKE ROSS about the struggle of Sara Murray, a U.S. citizen, who hasn’t been allowed to see her children freely in 4 years.
Wishing you a sad Agunah Day!
We may be about half the population, but that also puts us half the population at risk of being victims to Mesoravot Get (having a divorce refused). The Israeli legal situation gives the husband the exclusive power to break the bond of marriage by giving a Get (divorce). All women who want their status recognized by the State of Israel must receive their divorce from their husband through the rabbinical court - there is no other way. The husband can take this power and use it at will. The options of extortion are endless - they use it to demand custody of the children, or to demand property and money excessively. The message of the institutions seems clear: Give up your independence, your parenting role, your identity and self worth and do anything you can in order to get your Gett (divorce). The problem is, even if you give up everything and use all your bargaining chips, it does not guarantee the 'gett' to your freedom: the freedom to marry and have children who who are not considered bastards, freedom to be recognized as a single parent and receive social benefits, the freedom from economic strains and mental stress due to red tape for years under the auspices of the rabbinical court.
So what will happen this year on agunah day?! Is this another year in which we wish each other the Fast of Esther "Have an easy fast", and continue daily life ?! Or this year as Esther did in the Megillah, will we take our fate in our hands? You have the power to change this intolerable situation - sign a prenuptial agreement, recommend your daughter sign one, and spread awareness about signing prenuptial agreements among your friends. You can help make change and in this way, fight for women's rights.
"A Prenuptial agreement" could decreases your risk of becoming an Agunah!!
View the video clip "Sign in Love" prenuptial agreements of ICAR, The International Coalition For AGUNAH Rights
The Israeli Center for Learning Cities (ICLC) conduct signing a treaty ceremony at The first national conference of the Israeli Forum for promoting gender equality – looking towards Israel 2030
On 4th April, 20 professional women who are part of the Anti-defamation league in USA, visited The Rackman Center for a session regarding the status of women in Israel - they wanted to understand the whole picture for women in Israel, as well as focus on the status of women in the religious community. It was a pleasure to have them and there was a really interesting discussion. Dr Galit Shaul, CEO of Rackman, led and answered their questions.
On 14th April 2016 we were delighted to host our long standing friends and supporters from the Women's Amuta Initiative of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. One of our clients spoke to the group about how we are helping her to sort out complex custody issues and Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Dr Galit Shaul together with Adv Adi Raz, explained about our work, achievements and progress- made possible thanks to their support. We thank the Women's Amuta Initiative for the great work they are doing in supporting women in Israel!
In Israel family law cases can be held in two different courts: the Rabbinical Courts or the civil Family Courts. Where a specific case will be heard depends on where it was filed. If the sides of the case are not in agreement then the party that files first is where the case will be heard. This is what is known notoriously as "the race for jurisdiction". Adv. Shelley Feuerstein Tayar and Adv. Shlomit Beckerman Efrati in collaboration with two of the Rackman Center’s lawyers: Adv. Keren Horowitz and Adv. Shai Zilberberg, represented in an important case in front of the High Court of Justice, whose ruling, handed down just this week, has the potential of narrowing men's ability to abuse this situation.
The case involved a husband who refused to pay child support and was also a "gett" refuser. The husband had filed for divorce in the Rabbinical Court and "attached" to the divorce case the issue of child support. The High Court of Justice came to a decision in favor of our clients that the husband’s filing for divorce was not in good faith (a legal condition) due to the fact that he was a "gett" refuser and thus was not actually interested in divorcing his wife. Additionally, it was determined that the "attachment" of the child support also lacked good faith considering the exceptionally low amount that the husband offered to pay as child support. Therefore, it was decided that the civil Family Court has the sole jurisdiction over the issue of child support in the case.
In summary, the High Court of Justice's decided that the legal condition of filing a case in good faith does not stand when the husband is a "gett" refuser or refuses to pay child support. It is our hope that this important decision will drastically decrease the cases in which "gett" refusers or fathers refusing to pay child support exploit the legal system for the purpose of extortion in the process of divorce.
The Rackman Center was established in 2001 at Bar-Ilan University's Law School, with the goal of improving the status of women and bringing
an end to gender discrimination in Israeli society. The Rackman Center utilizes its unique position as an academic center situated in a law school to translate academic research, knowledge and training into action through social change in legislation, appeals to the High Court, bill proposals to the Knesset, conferences, training courses, and various publications, all of which contribute to the advancement of the status of women in family law in Israel.