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For International Women’s Day: ORF premiere for “criss-cross” documentary “Divorce refused – women fight for their freedom”

On March 16 at 10:35 p.m. on ORF 2, afterwards: “Five strong women – The fight against domestic violence in Iran”

Vienna (OTS) In Israel, according to Jewish law, divorces must be carried out in a rabbinical court. However, a woman can only legally divorce if the husband agrees to the divorce. Again and again there are therefore cases in which women – for very different reasons – sometimes struggle for their freedom for years. The documentary “Divorce refused”, which shows “criss-cross” on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at 10:35 p.m. as part of the ORF program focus on International Women’s Day (details at on ORF 2, accompanies an Orthodox one Lawyer at work. She uses all her skills to help her clients so that they can get the long-awaited divorce and are finally free.
In “Five Strong Women” (11:25 p.m.) the Iranian director Mina Keshavarz addresses the fight against domestic violence in Iran.

“Divorce refused – women fight for their freedom” – A film by David Ofek and Mia Web (ORF processing: Sabine Aßmann)

Batya Kahana-Dror is an Orthodox Jew – and a feminist. The lawyer is one of the few women who are admitted to the Israeli rabbinical courts. She uses every legal opportunity for her clients, some of whom have been fighting for a divorce for years. Because according to Jewish law, a woman cannot get a divorce without the express consent of her husband. And in Israel, marriages as well as divorces are mandatory according to Jewish law. The latter are tried before a rabbinical court, which consists of three judges. The film accompanies the lawyer in her dedicated work for three very different women.

There is, for example, the young mother Sarah from Belgium, who separated from her husband and moved to Israel with their son. She has been trying to get a divorce for two years. But her husband has not yet given her consent, so the rabbinical judges reject a legal divorce. The Brussels rabbi, who once married the couple, is now supposed to mediate and help ensure that a kosher divorce can finally come about. The rabbi, however, seems to be entirely on the side of the husband. Batya Kahana-Dror tries to resolve the situation and meets the rabbi in Tel Aviv – the case takes an unexpected turn.

The case of 44-year-old Noa is completely different. Her husband Guy had a heart attack six years ago and has been a nursing case ever since. Noa and their three children visit him regularly. Nevertheless, she now wants to look ahead and reshape her life. She has been trying to get a divorce from Guy for three years. But here, too, the following applies: Guy must expressly release his wife during a hearing before a rabbinical court. Noa prepares accordingly with her lawyer and finally the day of the planned divorce hearing arrives. But can the rabbinical judges actually be convinced?

Batya Kahana-Dror also represents the heavily pregnant Oshrat. Her husband has refused to divorce for many years. Oshrat has been living in a new relationship for a long time and would like to finally legally separate from her husband before the birth of her child. Together the two women try to have the marriage annulled. This requires solid reasons, which the rabbinical court accepts. A possible way out seems to have been found when it turns out that a witness to the marriage at the time could be “unsuitable in character”. The lawyer sets out to discuss this question with the rabbi and Talmud expert Daniel Sperber. Will Oshrat manage to dissolve the marriage in good time before the birth of her child?

“Five strong women – The fight against domestic violence in Iran” – A film by Mina Keshavarz

Domestic violence is a widespread problem in Iran: the only official study found that 66 percent of women are exposed to domestic violence. The number of unreported cases is probably much higher. The documentary by the Iranian director Mina Keshavarz accompanies the activists of the campaign “Stop domestic violence against women” in their work for a year. The committed protagonists want to bring a draft law to parliament to finally put a stop to the systematic violence against girls and women.

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