Cabinet refuses to amend 2-year prison penalty for weddings not conducted by rabbinate

Over the past two years, dozens of couples have married outside of the rabbinate as an act of civil disobedience.

December 1, 2014 19:08
2 minute read.
Wedding [illustrative]

Wedding [illustrative]. (photo credit: INIMAGE)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

A bill to annul a law that stipulates a possible two-year term of imprisonment for a rabbi who performs a wedding outside the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate was blocked on Sunday.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted against the bill, proposed by Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie, which was designed to repeal the severe legal implications for rabbis who perform such weddings.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

There are frequent cases in which couples encounter severe bureaucratic problems with the rabbinate that prevent them getting married on their intended wedding date.

This includes instances when the rabbinate fails to approve one or both of the partners’ documentation proving their Jewish status; refuses to accept converts as Jewish; or when couples elect to marry with an Orthodox rabbi of their choosing, but without the rabbinate’s approval.

The law, as it stands, subjects both a rabbi who performs a huppa and the couple getting married, to a two year criminal punishment if their marriage is not registered in the rabbinate.

Over the past two years, dozens of couples have married outside of the rabbinate as an act of civil disobedience.

Lavie’s amendment would have limited the law only to marriage registrars who performed weddings without registering them.

“The present law is an outrage,” said Rabbi Seth Farber, director of the ITIM Advocacy Center, which wrote the proposed amendment along with the Mavoi Satum women’s rights group.

“I am disappointed that the cabinet couldn’t look beyond petty politics to rectify this law, which is disproportionately severe and ludicrous.

Israel is now among a few select countries where it is a criminal act to perform a huppa.”

Farber said ITIM would seek litigation to protect rabbis and couples who seek to be married outside the rabbinate.

Mavoi Satum director Batya Kehana-Dror also criticized the decision not to approve the amendment.

“As an organization that encourages marriage outside of the rabbinate because of the problems within the religious establishment and the difficulties it creates in divorce proceedings, we cannot be reconciled to a situation in which couples who choose to marry in a private ceremony, and those who assist them, are turned into criminals and will be subject to imprisonment,” said Kehana-Dror.

“The current legal situation constitutes a severe injury to the right to marry as well as human dignity and freedom, and is likely to be interpreted as religious persecution.”

Related Content

August 15, 2018
Security expert: Crackdown on left-wing groups could foment extremism