web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Tzohar Marriage Registration Bill Passes In Israel

View-Beis-Medrash-logo

Last week, Israel’s Habayit Hayehudi Party spearheaded a new nationwide marriage registration bill into law. The bill, the Tzohar Law, was passed in a 54-17 vote.

The law reflects the intentions of rabbanei Tzohar, those seeking to lower restrictions for marriage registration. It is seen as the first major step in making religious services in Israel “friendlier” to citizens. The new law gives more flexibility to couples wishing to marry at a location of their choice and by whomever they choose. Prior to the new law’s passage, couples needed to be married by the chief rabbi of either partner’s home city.

The new law is expected to bring competition to the marriage registration process, which is likely to lower costs.

Religious support for the bill came from Rav David Stav, Tzohar Rabbinical Organization head. Rav Stav, who recently lost his bid to become Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, posted on his Facebook page: “The goal of this law is to make it easier for young couples to marry K’das Moshe V’Yisrael, and remove the feeling of humiliation that geirim previously experienced.”

Aside from Rav Stav, the bill had little backing from haredi and dati leumi religious leaders. Habayit Hayehudi succeeded in passing the Tzohar Law despite strong opposition from rabbanim in its own party. Leading the Tekuma rabbanim against the bill was HaRav Dov Lior, shlita. Joining him in opposition was the Chief Rabbinate of the Israel Council and Rabbi Simcha HaKohen Kook, shlita, Rechovot’s mara d’asra. In addition to his harsh criticism of the new law, Rav Kook also spoke severely about Habayit Hayehudi’s betrayal of its own rabbanim’s wishes. He said this clearly displayed the true colors of the party’s members.

The Sephardi rishon l’Zion, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, son of the late Rav Ovadia Yosef, zt”l, also opposes the marriage registration reform law. At a ceremony at the President’s Residence last Thursday, when the rabbanim of the Chief Rabbinate Council affirmed their oath of office, Rabbi Yosef warned that by liberalizing the registration process the chief rabbinate’s efforts to safeguard kedushas Am Yisrael would be severely damaged.

The main issue these rabbanim have with the new law is that if anyone can get married anywhere he or she wishes, the number of illegitimate marriages would rise – leading to an increase in mamzeirus cases. These concerns were previously prevented because one is generally well known in his or her city of residence.

Another scenario that could have been prevented under the old law regards geirus. If a man became a ger in a city outside his place of residence and there they are unaware that he is not shomer Shabbos, he is not truly a ger. But the new law allows one to register in another city, where he is not known, making it all but impossible for the officiator to prevent such situations. Thus such illegitimate unions will be more difficult to prevent, and mamzeirus will, chas v’shalom, increase.

Many rabbanim who fear the new liberal law made notice of its glaring hypocrisy. One wishing to obtain services from Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute), the Ministry of the Interior, or State Employment Services must visit the office in one’s city of residence. So why is marriage registration being treated differently?

While many agree that the previous system of marriage registration needed improvement, they feel it was unnecessary to overhaul the entire system. Instead, they believed, the ministry simply had to enforce the regulation in place. Critics of the law feel that while it calls for the process to be “more cooperative,” this could result in granting questionable couples permission to wed in the name of generating income for ailing religious councils. In the past, these rabbis were not pressured – from a financial point of view – since couples had no alternative but to register locally. Opponents of the law warn that the new law will not maintain marriage in accordance with halacha.

It is interesting to note that following the last elections this bill was rejected by none other than Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. This was not out of respect for halacha; rather, it was in retaliation against Bayit Yehudi after the latter nixed a bill sponsored by her colleague in Hatnua, MK Elazar Stern. That bill’s intention was to add women to the voting body for the nation’s chief rabbis.

Another point of interest is that one of the major supporters of the bill was Religious Affairs Deputy Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi). Rabbi Ben-Dahan was the longtime director-general of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the bureau chief for HaGaon HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu, zt”l. Despite this background, Rabbi Ben-Dahan is disregarding the position of haredi and dati leumi gedolei Yisrael, as well as Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

Now that this bill has passed, the Ministry of Religious Services is looking at the next step in its vision of making religious services in the state of Israel more “user friendly” to all. Next on its agenda is the geirus system, which the ministry is seeking to dramatically change. Rabbi Ben-Dahan is confident that his bill on this issue will create competition, as the new marriage registration law is meant to do.

In the existing system, only a relative few dayanim are authorized to perform geirus. Under the proposed new law, 30 new giyur facilities will join the existing state system. Each of these facilities will include three authorized dayanim, meaning that 90 dayanim will join the 31 currently certified nationwide. This bill will also permit candidates to “shop” for the rabbi of their choice.

Perhaps the most significant change is that the candidate for geirus will have the ability to select where he or she has the geirus done. And the candidate will be able to select the dayan. Therefore, if one dayan is known for being stringent and another lenient, a candidate may opt for the lenient one – regardless of where the dayan is located in Israel.

Habayit Hayehudi indeed promised to bring major reform to the country. But few understood that this would be accomplished with the disapproval of its own rabbanim.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Tzohar Marriage Registration Bill Passes In Israel”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
J-Street
J Street: The Jewish Enemy Within
Latest Sections Stories
Road sign in Russian and Yiddish greeting visitors on the road just outside Birobidzhan. (photo by Ben G. Frank)

Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters

Ayelet Shaked

She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.

Teens-Twenties-logo

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Lewis-052215-Jewish-Soldiers-logo

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.

Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”

Our goal here is to offer you recipes that you can make on Yom Tov with ingredients you might just have in the house. Enjoy and chag sameach!

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The question is: What about pidyon haben? Can one give the five sela’im required for pidyon haben to a kohen’s daughter?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The mitzvah that parents must give their son a bris milah is a mitzvah that they must perform for someone else – namely their son.

The Bach writes that he mentioned his insights to many of the leading gedolim and no one disproved him.

The Bais Halevi answers that we must properly define what is considered to be “in the middle of a mitzvah.”

In this case one could reason that by applying halach achar harov we could permit the forbidden bird as well.

Why would it not be sufficient to simply state lehoros from which we derive that in such a state one may not issue any psak?

The Netziv answered that there is a difference between a piece of bread that was cut already in front of you, and one that was cut from beforehand.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/the-view-from-the-beis-medrash/tzohar-marriage-registration-bill-passes-in-israel/2013/11/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: