In the State of Israel, the unique family law derives from ancient Jewish law, halakhic traditions, and an extensive legal tradition spanning many centuries and geographic locations. This book examines Israeli family law in comparison with the corresponding law in the United States and illuminates common issues in legal systems worldwide. The Israeli system is primarily controlled by the religious law of the parties. Thus, religious courts were also established and granted enforcement powers equivalent to those of the civil courts. This is a complex situation because the religious law applied in these courts is not always consistent with gender equality and civil rights practiced in civil court. This book seeks to clarify that tension and offer solutions. The comprehensive analysis in this book may serve as a guide for those interested in family law: civil court judges, rabbinical court judges, lawyers, mediators, arbitrators, and families themselves. Topics central to the book include issues subject to modification, the right of a minor to independent status, extramarital relationships, and joint property.
Yitshak Cohen is an associate professor of law and senior lecturer at the Ono Academic College Faculty of Law. He is the academic director of the Ono Academic College Faculty of Law, Jerusalem Campus. He received rabbinic ordination from the chief rabbinate of Israel. In 2012 he was a visiting scholar at Columbia University Law School in New York, in 2013 he served as a visiting professor at McGill University in Montreal, and in 2017 he served as a visiting professor at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. The author has headed various academic programs, including a law studies program for religious leaders at Ono Academic College and a Bar-Ilan University program on religious-secular relations. He has published three books and numerous articles in his teaching and research fields of Jewish law, family law, and civil procedure.
“This excellent book is not only about the unique family law in Israel, but also gives clarity to the bureaucratic quagmire of the American legal system… In the state of Israel, the unique family law derives from ancient Jewish law, halakhic traditions, and rabbinic legal reception history spanning millennia. This book brilliantly examines Israeli family law in comparison with the U.S. matrimonial laws and connects the dots in international legal systems. The Israeli system is primarily controlled by religious law and granted enforcement powers equivalent to those of the civil courts. This insightful book seeks to clarify the tension and offer solutions. It surely will guide those interested in family law: civil court judges, rabbinical court judges, lawyers, mediators, arbitrators, and families. Cohen exposes not only the weaknesses in Israeli law but other inequities in Western democracies, often with giving practical models to fix the flaws and overhaul dysfunctional procedures.”
—David B Levy, Touro College LCW, NYC, AJL Reviews