Daily Israel Report

Civil Marriage Threatens Lapid-Bennett Alliance

Bayit Yehudi may end its alliance with Lapid’s Yesh Atid party over attempts to institute civil marriage, same-sex marriage, MK says.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/29/2013, 4:10 PM

Lapid and Bennett talk during Knesset session
Lapid and Bennett talk during Knesset session
Flash 90

The Yesh Atid party’s attempt to institute civil marriage, including same-sex marriage, could mean the end of the political alliance between Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home), MK Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi) warned Tuesday.

Yesh Atid has put forth a bill that would allow any couple to marry in a civil ceremony, including same-sex couples.

“This is a dangerous initiative that would create a binational state – one Jewish nation, and one ‘civil’ nation,” Chetboun warned.

“The nation of Israel has maintained its traditions for thousands of years,” he continued. “These types of initiatives are an attempt to split the nation in two.”

Currently, marriages conducted within the state of Israel are recognized by the government only if conducted within the framework of a recognized religion. The current law means that some couples are unable to marry in a recognized ceremony within Israel, among them same-sex couples, Jews who wish to marry non-Jews but do not want a non-Jewish religious wedding ceremony, couples who do not affiliate with any religion, and those who wish to enter a marriage prohibited by their religion.

Many such couples fly to Cyprus, the United States, or other foreign countries and marry there. Their marriages are then recognized under Israeli law.

Many secular Jewish couples have also complained about the current law. While the law allows secular Jewish couples to marry in a Jewish ceremony, some say they would prefer a civil ceremony.

Opponents of the civil marriage law warn that it would create a situation where many people are born from marriages that are prohibited under Jewish law (halakhah), which in turn would affect the ability of Jews from various communities to marry each other.