Ha’aretz just published a list of the ten most influential Anglo immigrants in Israel.
Among the ten, appears friend and colleague Susan Weiss, who I have mentioned in this blog a number of times in connection with her innovative work in filing tort cases against recalcitrant spouses. This is what Ha’aretz had to say about her:
Life for Israeli agunot has gotten a little easier since New York native Susan Weiss founded the Center for Women’s Justice to help women whose husbands refuse to grant them a bill of divorce.
Religious courts often fail to force husbands to give their wives a religious divorce, known in Hebrew as a get, preventing them from remarrying.
But Weiss, a lawyer who moved to Jerusalem in 1980, changed the game entirely − by suing recalcitrant husbands for damages. In 2004, she won NIS 425,000 for a woman who’s husband refused to grant a divorce for eight years.
Since then Weiss, 56, filed some 40 such cases − one currently being discussed by the Supreme Court.
“We’re changing a husband’s refusal to give a [religious divorce] from a religious right to a civil wrong,” she said.
Joel Katz, a leading observer of religion and state issues, called her “one of the unsung heroes in the fight for women’s rights in Israel,” stressing her “tenacity in seeking − and achieving − long-term strategic change, rather than just settling for minor victories.”
Mazal tov to Susan, and may she and her team at the Center for Women’s Justice have continued success in their groundbreaking legal work, in their efforts on behalf of women in the State of Israel.