The Knesset Environmental and Interior Committee on Monday authorized for its first reading a law that would prevent rabbis and other religious functionaries from receiving money for conducting a wedding. The law was proposed by MK Shuly Muallem (Jewish Home), who said that, as rabbis were already paid by the state to conduct weddings, there was no need to pay them an additional fee.
It was already illegal for rabbis and religious councils to charge money for conducting weddings, but it was permissible for couples to “tip” rabbis. According to Muallem, in some cases the “tips” were seen as mandatory. The new law would require rabbis to make it clear that they cannot accept money for conducting a wedding.
MK Miri Regev, who chairs the committee, agreed that the law was a good idea.
“It's about time that the law was enacted and enforced to prevent situations that raise the ire of everyone who hears about them. I have no problem with rabbis making more than their state salaries, but they must fulfill their work obligations,” she said.
Another requirement that needed to be adjusted, Regev said, was the requirement to pay a “filing fee” for marriage licenses, which often amounts to as much as NIS 700. “Where are young couples supposed to get that kind of money? It is too much of a burden for them,” she said.
Regev said that legislation would be enacted to regulate what could be charged for and what could not. “I am not against rabbis making money, I am in favor of young couples saving money,” she said.