An Israeli professor who has refused to grant his wife a religious divorce for more than four years has been arrested in Antwerp, Belgium.
Oded Guez, who was a physics lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, was arrested this week on suspicion of using a forged passport and taking on a false identity, the Ynet news website reported. He is accused of using the false identity and fake passport to leave Israel after he was barred exit by the civil courts over his refusal to grant his wife the religious divorce, or get.
Guez disappeared from Israel in April.
The Justice Ministry said it will ask for his extradition to face charges of impersonation and using a false passport in violation of the order preventing his exit from the country.
In February, a rabbinical court excommunicated Guez, issuing a herem, or a writ of banishment, which laid out a number of prohibitions at synagogue, “until he relents from his stubbornness and listens to his betters and he unchains his wife and gives her a get.” A week later he was fired from his position at Bar-Ilan.
In Judaism, women who are not given a religious divorce by their husbands are called chained women, or agunot, because they cannot remarry according to Orthodox Jewish law. Any children they have out of wedlock may not marry under religious Orthodox law. Religious judges, or dayanim, do not have the authority to nullify marriages of reluctant husbands.