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The National Union and the National Religious Party are working on a plan that would allow non-halachic Jews to marry under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
"After the elections I will offer a plan for more than 100,000 non halachik-Jews to marry," NU-NRP leader Benny Elon told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
His plan, he said, differs greatly from that of the secular party Shinui, which had made civil marriage a part of its platform.
Shinui sought to take the institute of marriage away from the rabbinate and turn it over to the state, said Elon. That is a mistake, he added. "It's important for the unity of the state that we not have civil marriage in Israel," said Elon.
The coalition agreement between the NRP and Shinui, in the last government, was one of the factors that blocked civil marriage legislation, so that that Jewish marriages in Israel remain under the purview of the rabbinate.
But Elon said he is aware that a marriage solution has to be offered for non-halachic Jews. It was impossible to work out a solution with Shinui, which was simply anti-religious and "provocative." He added that "under the guidance of the Chief Rabbinate we will solve these problems." He has already spoken with the rabbinate about the need to find solutions for the many nonhalachic Jews in Israel, many of whom are from the former Soviet Union.
"There is a way, we can do it," said Elon. The matter is important for the many Israeli citizens who can not marry in the country, he added.
Failure to find a solution could also be a political stumbling bloc for the NU-NRP, which hopes to create a rightwing government with a coalition that would include itself, the Likud, Shas, UTJ and Israel Beiteinu.
Shas opposes civil marriage. At the same time, providing a marriage solution for nonhalachic Jews is important for Israel Beiteinu, which draws most of its support from the Russian-speaking community.
Israel Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman also told the Post that he believed a solution acceptable to all partners in such a coalition could be found, although he did not speak of a plan that involved the Chief Rabbinate.
"Civil marriage is a very serious problem. I think that even the religious understands that we must look for some kind of a solution because we have some contradictions. . I'm sure there are many solutions," Lieberman said.