The Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee today approved a fee of NIS 600 ($165) for civil marriage certification in Israel, effectively paving the way for the instatement of these marriages within the coming days.Once official guidelines are published, non-Jewish Israelis, or citizens defined by the State as lacking religious denomination, will be able to marry without the Chief Rabbinate and be recognized by the state.
The committee’s chairman and initiator of the bill, MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), said he was “rejoicing” in the decision because it will allow thousands of Israeli citizens to marry in the country, whereas up until now non-Jewish citizens have had to travel abroad to wed.
Rotem added that he planned to push a wider bill soon, which will allow civil marriage in other cases as well. He had no comment on the extent of charedi backlash to such a bill.
But the legal advisor to the rabbinic courts, Rabbi Attorney Shimon Yaakobi, told Ynet that the courts would fight to make sure only non-Jews make use of the new law. He explained the system by which they would do so, which involves checking the applicants’ names in the census registration to make sure neither is listed as Jewish.
The new law allows non-Jewish Israelis, or citizens defined by the State as lacking religious denomination, to marry via the soon-to-be-formed marriage registrar bureau.
There are currently 60,000 people in Israel how are defined as “non-denomination” Israelis and therefore cannot marry through the Chief Rabbinate.