5 MKs attend Reform wedding outside Knesset

Nuptials held to show lack of recognition for non-Orthodox Jewish denominations in Israel.

wedding370 (photo credit: Courtesy, Reform Movement )
(photo credit: Courtesy, Reform Movement )
A wedding organized by the Reform Movement in Israel was conducted for a young couple by rabbis from the movement outside the Knesset Monday morning, ahead of the induction of the new government, to highlight the lack of recognition for non-Orthodox Jewish denominations in Israel.
The happy couple, Lin Dror and Alon Marcus, were joined by five members of Knesset, including MKs Hilik Bar, Merav Michaeli, Miki Rosenthal, Moshe Mizrahi and Stav Shaffir from Labor and Nitzan Horowitz from Meretz.
Concerns have been raised by pluralist and secularist activists this week that the new government will ignore demands for changes to the status quo on matters of religion and state, despite the promises of Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid during the election that he would work toward instituting civil marriage in Israel and achieving equal recognition for all Jewish denominations in the state.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Dror, 27, said that as an Israeli citizen who works, pays taxes and is a full member of society, she has the right to choose how to get married, along with other people who wished to get married according to their beliefs, including same-sex marriages.
Only marriage conducted according to Orthodox Jewish tradition is recognized by the State of Israel, and civil marriage is not available inside the country. Civil ceremonies conducted abroad are subsequently recognized by the state.
Dror and Marcus, who are Labor party activists, will not marry in a civil service abroad, in protest at the lack of freedom of choice in marriage in Israel. They will therefore not get state recognition as a married couple but will, however, be entitled to roughly the same rights as married couples, since the state recognizes common law marriages.
Horowitz said in a statement to the media that it was “clear that the new government will prevent freedom of choice” on the issue of marriage.
He added that comments made by new Deputy Minister for Religious Services Eli Ben- Dahan during the election campaign that he would not permit civil marriage proved that Lapid had abandoned his constituents in favor of his party’s alliance with Bayit Yehudi.
MKs Shaffir and Bar acted as witnesses for the couple, something not permitted in Orthodox weddings, since women cannot, for the most part, serve as witnesses according to Jewish law.
Writing on her Facebook page, Shaffir said that the wedding had presented the government with its first test: “the test of religious freedom.”
“Will this government free our religion from the monopolistic forces which dominate it?” Shaffir asked. “Will it loosen the grasp that these forces have on our daily lives, on the relationship between us and the regulation of our social and political status? Or the subjugation of a wide variety of elements of our lives – from the most intimate places and up to the control of the public space itself?”