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Aharon Barak in favor of civil marriages Photo: Yoav Galai
Aharon Barak in favor of civil marriages Photo: Yoav Galai
 
 

Aharon Barak: Don’t leave marriage in hands of religious

Former Supreme Court chief justice says 'civil marriage laws must be regulated in Israel,' an alternative to religious marriages must exist

Raanan Ben-Zur
Published: 05.14.08, 13:53 / Israel Jewish Scene

“Civil marriage laws must be regulated in Israel. The control cannot be left in the hands of the religious alone; an alternative must exist," former Chief Justice of Israel’s Supreme Court Aharon Barak said on Tuesday in a conference commemorating 60 years to law in Israel which took place at the the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center.

 

“I am not in favor of culture clashes, we can conclude this with an agreement with the religious sector,” he claimed. “The Knesset needs to do this in order to provide minimal service to the Israeli citizen.”

 

According to him, this is a critical issue and “not only due to the wretched decision regarding the “conversion annulment” (a decision made by the Rabbinical Court saying that converts who did not abide by mitzvoth, or good deeds, will have their conversion annulled retroactively).

 

Barak said that Israeli law is unique in that it embodies "both Jewish and democratic values.”

 

The former chief justice also discussed the tensions between the Justice Ministry and the legal institution. “The cooperation between the bodies is very bad,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen in the court, it depends on other things. However, the court needs to be the citizens' stronghold opposite the government.

 

"The goal is not efficiency, it is freedom, and we need to maintain this and pay a price for it. There are no laws bypassing the High Court of Justice, there are only ones bypassing democracy,” he said. 

 

Barak continued to say that Israel is in need of a constitution: “We need to complete this project. We can’t continue with basic laws.”

 

He also said that the system needs to broaden human rights, and that it is too important to leave in the hands of the judicial branch. “One of the lessons learned from the Holocaust is that we need to defend human rights in the face of a majority,” he claimed.

 

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