Israel’s anti-Orthodox “Be Free Israel” organization aired a radio commercial urging people to boycott the rabbinate and have egalitarian weddings. The ad targeted older Jews who are more likely to discourage such a measure. Last year, Be Free Israel opened a special ceremonies department to conduct secular ceremonies. It also collaborates with the Reform and Conservative movements.
“Our recommendation is that they sign a legal agreement here in Israel providing them with almost all the same rights as married couples, and such agreements exist,” Be Free executive director Mickey Gitzin said regarding Israel’s non-recognition of such marriages.
“If that’s not good enough for them, then as a last resort, we recommend they go abroad.”
Israel accepts any marriage ceremony done overseas.
Be Free Israel claims that one in five Israelis marry outside the rabbinate, including five hundred who used their secular ceremonies department this year. Conservative rabbis claim to perform two to three hundred ceremonies yearly and Reform rabbis another thousand. Many such weddings involve couples whom the rabbinate would not marry due to problems in their conversion or lineage.
David Steger – Matzav.com Israel