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Amid virus crisis, lockdowns, Jewish Israelis saw drop in divorce rate in 2020

Rabbinical court reports number of case files opened also decreased compared to 2019, saying trend should be ‘welcomed’

(RomoloTavani/iStock/Getty Images)
(RomoloTavani/iStock/Getty Images)

The number of Jewish Israelis who divorced in 2020 declined by three percent compared to the year before and there was also a drop in the number of divorce cases filed that year, according to an annual report from the Rabbinical Courts Administration published Sunday.

The report said that there was an anticipation that there would be a rise in divorces due to the pressures of the coronavirus crisis that saw Israelis endure three lockdowns and left millions unemployed.

Over the course of the year there were 11,076 Jewish couples who were divorced while the year before the number was 11,451, the report said.

The report said last year there were 3,852 files opened for divorce involving dispute compared to 4,158 in 2019, a drop of 7%. Cases in which couples agreed to a divorce dropped by 1% from 5,660 in 2020 to 5,701 in 2019.

The rabbinic courts handle all divorces for the Jewish population in Israel, which does not recognize civil marriage or divorce.

“After everything, the corona crisis, together with the tension and the staying at home did not worsen the situation and the number of divorcees, even decreased – and this should be welcomed,” said Director of the Rabbinic Courts David Malka.

However, Malka appeared to ignore the fact that economic hardship often forces couples to remain together. Women, in particular, face difficulties leaving problematic marriages.

Welfare groups have repeatedly warned that lockdown measures, added to the stress of financial difficulties, are driving up incidents of domestic violence.

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