My wife and I are Jewish and live in the South of Israel. We immigrated several years ago. Because of Kasssam rockets being fired she has become extremely uncomfortable about living here and will hardly go out for fear of a terrorist attack. She wants to return to the States . I don’t. Is her desire to leave Israel a ground for me to divorce her under Jewish law ?
By: דיאנה שאלתיאל•Published on: 13 June, 2022
Jewish law gives a preference to living in Israel as opposed to the Diaspora .
A spouse’s desire to leave Israel can be sufficient grounds for divorce if held to be unjustifiable given all the circumstances. The built-in bias is not absolute and during periods when “aliyah” was dangerous a spouse’s refusal to emigrate to Israel was considered justifiable, and , therefore, not sufficient to merit grounds for divorce. Your wife’s desire to leave Israel could be grounds for divorce if a rabbinical court felt that her refusal to stay was unjustifiable.
If you do not want to divorce you could apply for “Shlom Bayit” ( plea for marital reconciliation) at the rabbinical court and ask for an order preventing her leaving the country. This may “buy time” and help if the rift in your marriage can be healed. Under Jewish law a wife is expected to respect her husband’s desire to move within the country they live in – so you could suggest a quieter location within Israel and your wife cannot unjustifiably refuse unless she wants to risk losing her right to maintenance.