WeddingIsrael news photo: file

The Tzohar Rabbis organization, which provides rabbinical services from Zionist rabbis, seeks to establish its own independent system for registration of marriages, along the same framework as the one maintained by the hareidi-religious “Badatz” courts [Badatz is the Hebrew acronym for Court of Justice – ed.].

Rabbi David Stav of the Tzohar Rabbis leadership told Arutz Sheva of the new initiative. “Today, formally, it is the local rabbinates that are authorized to register marriages, in the marriage departments. However, you never actually see hareidi-religious Jews going there to register for marriage, because the hareidi Jews can register for marriage at the various Badatz courts, which have deals with local rabbinates that allow them to register marriages and later pass on the paperwork to the rabbinate.”

Many people prefer to register with the Badatz courts because the bureaucracy there is not as bad, he explained. “Zionist-religious and even secular couples go to those Badatz courts because there is not a long line there, you don't need to go back several times to complete the paperwork, and you do not need to bring witnesses to testify that you are single. Also, there are many who want a specific rabbi to perform the ceremony although the rabbinate does not approve that rabbi, while the Badatz courts have no supervision and they let almost anyone marry couples.”

He called upon the Chief Rabbinate to allow Tzohar into the system as well. “We ask the Rabbinate – just as you recognized the Badatz marriage registrants, we too are worthy of doing it. As of today there is no legal body known as the Tzohar Rabbis but actually, we are already carrying out marriages according to the rabbinate's criteria, and we already teach brides in preparation for their weddings. But we do not have the authority to complete the bureaucratic process.”