Orthodox couple appeals to High Court after Rabbinate puts them in limbo

Chief Rabbinate refuses to recognize Orthodox marriage

Noam Oren and his wife married in a religious ceremony, but authorities refuse to recognize it due to their insistence on protecting each other from potential divorce refusal.

Young Jewish couple, source: WikipediaYoung Jewish couple, source: Wikipedia

From the Times of Israel:

    An Israeli couple who got married in an Orthodox Jewish wedding but without involving the country’s Chief Rabbinate appealed to the High Court of Justice on Monday, after the Rabbinate refused to list the couple as married but also prohibited them from marrying anyone else, effectively putting them in limbo.
    It is the first time a controversial legal article will be tested in Israel’s top court. Passed several years ago, the amendment to the law bans alternative, “private” weddings and designates a possible punishment of up to two years in prison for couples who marry in such ceremonies and for rabbis who perform them.
    Oren said the reason he chose an alternative marriage was that the Rabbinate refuses to conduct weddings that include a provision that would retroactively annul the marriage ceremony in the event one of the partners refuses to grant or accept a divorce, thus avoiding the problematic scenario which can prevent women from being able to remarry for many years.


The Rabbinate refuses to conduct weddings that include a provision that would retroactively annul the marriage ceremony in the event one of the partners refuses to grant or accept a divorce

This ugly story illustrates once again how urgent and important it is to abolish the monopoly of the rabbinical courts (And the religious courts serving the non-Jewish population of Israel) and to realize the promise of Israel's Declaration of Independence for freedom of religion and conscience in the realm of personal status. A civil channel for marriage and divorce must be established, as well as the legal right for couples to marry in Israel in any religious ceremony they prefer (in compliance with basic requirements to be determined by the State), just as in any other enlightened democracy. Israel's system of religious coercion is the result of nothing more than obscene political deals.

This important article reveals the extent to which the Rabbinical Courts and the Chief Rabbinate are guided not by Halakha but rather by their battle for power their efforts to preserve their religious monopoly. The name of Rabbi Dr. Michael Abraham, a well-known Orthodox scholar and religious figure, precedes him. The decision of a rabbinic court to refuse to recognize the halachic validity of a marriage that he conducted is ridiculous and artificial, and it shows how dangerous and improper ceding full control over matters of personal status of Jews in Israel to the rabbinical courts is. These rabbis are political appointees and ruling according to a worldview that the overwhelming majority of the Israeli public rejects. More and more Torah observant people are choosing not to use their services.

Most of the public rejects with disgust the coercive rabbinic establishment in Israel, and it supports freedom of marriage, freedom of religion and equality. The time has come for politicians to understand that it is immoral and unthinkable to continue Israel's unfortunate membership among the family of radical Islamic states and other non-democratic countries, which determine personal status matters according to extremist, narrow religious views [See Hiddush's Marriage Freedom Project: marriage.hiddush.org.il].

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