Yisrael Beiteinu bill suggests registering couples as married even if they were not wed by Orthodox rabbi in Israel
Published: 02.12.08, 22:18 / Israel Jewish Scene
The Knesset is expected to vote Wednesday in a preliminary reading on a bill submitted by the Yisrael Beiteinu faction, suggesting that couple wishing to be recognized by the State will be registered as married even if they were not wed by an Orthodox rabbi in Israel.
According to the bill, such couples will be officially registered as married and will receive rights reserved for married couples without undergoing a religious ceremony.
"If the Knesset fails to approve this civil union, the attorney general will do so in two-three years, just like he did with the adoption by same-sex couples," warned the bill's initiator, Knesset Member David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu).
"The legislators should rather do it themselves in a responsible and controlled manner," he added.
When the bill was first reported by Ynet, MK Rotem explained that "the bill allows interested couples to be registered as a married couple with all the implications and be eligible to all the rights and duties of a married man. This will make life easier for many citizens forced to travel abroad to get married in a non-religious manner instead of doing it here in an organized way."
Rotem said Tuesday, "It's true that similar bills were submitted in the past and were not approved, but I believe that the time has come for the Knesset to recognize and approve the required change.
"It's not a law which is only supposed to serve new immigrants. The law is mainly aimed at serving 'Tel Avivians' seeking to have a dual relationship and not go through the religious path."
According to Rotem, the bill does not contradict the fact that he is a religious person.
"On the contrary, I respect those who want to lead a different lifestyle and do not wish to impose anything on them," he explained.
And what are the chances of the bill passing the preliminary reading? "Although the government opposes the bill, I believe there is a good chance it will pass," said Rotem.
"There are Knesset members from the Pensioners and Kadima factions who have promised to vote in favor of it. I expect support from Knesset members from the Labor faction as well and from Meretz of course."
Shas faction chairman, MK Yacov Margi, said in response, "I would like to remind all kinds of people in the coalition that the Yisrael Beiteinu faction is an opposition faction, and therefore this bill should be dropped, particularly when we are talking about a bill which paints the State's image in dark colors."