Dozens turn themselves in for performing 'illegal weddings'
"We must continue to fight for our freedom and the freedom of our country."
By JULIANE HELMHOLDUpdated: JULY 21, 2018 19:36
About 50 officiants from the Havaya Israeli Life Cycle Ceremonies center, which carries out weddings outside the auspices of the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate, “surrendered” themselves to police on Friday morning in protest against the arrest of prominent Conservative (Masorti) leader Rabbi Dov Hayun on Thursday.The officiants who gathered outside Moriah Police station in Jerusalem were instructed to prepare an orderly record of the names of the couples they married, the dates of the ceremonies and witness names in order for the individual cases to be investigated.In contrast, officers at the Lev Tel Aviv Police station claimed there was no reason for any arrests or further investigation, despite the fact that the officiants who gathered there claimed to have performed more than 1,000 marriages outside the framework of the Orthodox rabbinate.The Jewish world was shaken up when the Haifa Police abruptly woke Hayun at his home at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday and took him in for questioning for the crime of officiating weddings outside the jurisdiction of the Chief Rabbinate.Hayun, who heads the Masorti Moriah Synagogue in Haifa, has performed weddings for many years for couples wishing to marry under the auspices of the Masorti movement.However, an amendment to the Law for Marriage and Divorce, which passed in 2015, stipulates that an individual who conducts a wedding ceremony for a couple and fails to register it with the Chief Rabbinate is liable to a two-year jail sentence.Actress Esti Zakheim, who took part in Friday’s activities, said, “The last few days in this country have been difficult. I feel that we must fight for our freedom when laws like thenation-state bill are passed and a Conservative rabbi is arrested just because he has married a couple outside the Orthodox rabbinate.”Advertisement“We must continue to fight for our freedom and the freedom of our country.”Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.