Israel wants to extend the rabbinic courts' jurisdiction globally so that non-citizens would be subject to its sanctions and rulings. This move is being heralded as a lifesaver for agunot, chained women whose husbands refuse to grant them a religious divorce.
As Israel's theocratic arm reaches even farther and in the wake of the controversial conversion bill, international blacklisting and non-recognition of diaspora rabbis, we must ask ourselves: is expanding the power of an already corrupt institution internationally a safe bet?
Don't be fooled by the veneer of "helping agunot." The Times of Israel turns to the Center for Women's Justice to weigh in:
"The Center for Women's Justice, an advocacy group that deals with religion and state issues, has said it is 'against expansion of the rabbinic court’s jurisdiction in any way, whether in Israel and certainly outside of Israel. A Jewish state needs to disentangle itself from halakhic/religious expressions that deny the dignity, equality, and liberty of its citizens, not reinforce them or compound them.'”