The Religious Services Ministry has demanded that local rabbinates comply with ministry guidelines and certify prenuptial agreements for assets brought to them by couples registering for marriage.
The ministry’s instructions come following work carried out by the ITIM religious services group which found that 10 percent of local rabbinates were not authorizing such documents.
The prenuptial agreements in question relate to the division of assets should the couple end up getting divorced.
Earlier this year, ITIM anonymously called 80 local rabbinates around the country to find out whether they were certifying prenuptial agreements as required by directives issued by the ministry in February 2013.
Of the 80 rabbinates called, eight said they do not authorize prenuptial agreements. ITIM subsequently wrote to all eight rabbinates pointing out that they were in breach of the ministry’s directives.
On June 10, the ministry wrote to all local religious councils and municipal chief rabbis pointing out the obligation to authorize prenuptial agreements if requested to do so by a couple before their wedding.
Of the eight rabbinates which told ITIM they did not authorize prenuptial agreements, four have now agreed to comply with the ministry’s instructions, while another four are still not in full compliance, although they are understood to be in discussions with the ministry on the issue.
ITIM director Rabbi Seth Farber welcomed the ministry’s action and criticized local religious authorities for ignoring government directives.
“It is inexcusable that after the ministry issues regulations, the local rabbinates flaunt them,” said Farber. “We congratulate the ministry on its willingness to call local rabbinates to order on this issue, but we will continue to monitor the situation.”
Last week, an interministerial committee was established to draw up a universally accepted prenuptial document commensurate with Jewish law to deal with the serious problem of spouses refusing give or accept a bill of divorce.
This phenomenon leads to a situation in which usually a woman, but also men, are prevented from leaving the marriage and starting a new life.