Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet ShakedFlash 90

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked has halted the recognition and registration of civil marriages performed online by a service provided in the state of Utah.

Israeli couples will now no longer be able to get married utilizing the Utah online procedure, which so far has been successfully made use of by several hundred Israelis.

Reports are that the number may be approximately 500 couples, but that has not been confirmed.

For the first time since the founding of the State of Israel, the Utah service gave Israelis a civil marriage option without having to go abroad.

Shaked’s decision not to recognize the online marriages was partly done at the behest of a petition that stated the online marriages could not be properly registered in Israel.

The move is expected to be challenged in court by couples already married using Utah’s online service, reported the Jerusalem Post.

Experts on the subject of civil marriage in Israel suggested that the court challenge will likely succeed and that perhaps Shaked made the decision in order to avoid making a more controversial change, knowing that the court system will likely insist that the Interior Ministry register the online marriages regardless of where they originated from.

Utah began providing the online civil marriage service in 2020.

The service started to become popular with Israelis wanting civil marriages but not able to go abroad due to COVID travel restrictions.