Israel’s Religious Services Minister, Naftali Bennett, on Sunday presented his reform to the marriage registration process by expanding catchment areas and canceling dozens of religious councils. Bennett and his deputy Eli Ben Dahan announced that they will be advancing the “Tzohar Law,” or an equivalent law which will cancel the regional division of marriage registration areas, which has been in use for decades. This step introduces competition between municipal rabbis and regional religious councils.
Marriage registration in Israel is carried out according to regional divisions. Couples can register to be married with a local religious council if at least one of them is a resident in the council’s area. The proposal to make marriage registration national was raised by former MKs Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and Faina Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu) and MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) following cases in which municipal rabbis and marriage registrars took it upon themselves to refuse to register converts to Judaism and also created various difficulties for those who are Jewish by birth.
Read more at Haaretz.