Batya Kehana-Dror, head of the Mavoi Satum women’s rights group welcomed the State Attorney’s measure, but noted that rabbinical courts themselves have had the ability to use various sanctions, including imprisonment, for divorce refusal, but which are rarely used.

She also stated that the use of the “obligatory divorce” ruling by rabbinical courts, which is a prerequisite for criminal proceedings under the new guidelines, is used exceedingly rarely.

Pnina Omer, director of the Yad L’Isha organization said the measure was an important and unprecedented step which would improve the chances of women refused a divorce by their husbands to finally get one.

Omer added however that she hoped that rabbinical judges “will not hesitate in issuing “obligatory divorce” rulings whenever possible, in order to allow for criminal proceedings