The Knesset on Wednesday rejected a bill initiated by Knesset Member Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz),
allowing civil marriage in Israel.
Seventeen lawmakers voted in favor of the proposal in its preliminary reading, while 40 voted against it.
The bill was aimed at allowing Israelis to choose between civil or religious marriage. Divorce would have been performed in accordance with the type of marriage, unless the couple agreed in writing to divorce in a different way.
During the discussion, MK Orit Zuaretz (Kadima)
took the podium wearing a head cover. She claimed that in the current reality she was being forced to be religious in order to marry. Zuaretz was asked to remove the head cover.
Meanwhile Wednesday, the Hiddush Movement – For Religious Freedom and Equality released the findings of a study conducted by Dr. Guy Ben-Porat and Dr. Yariv Feniger of Ben-Gurion University, showing that two-thirds of the Jewish population in Israel are in favor of civil marriage, but only one-third would choose non-religious marriage if they had the option.
According to the researchers, the difference between the general support and the personal interest is likely the reason that the big parties have failed to promote civil marriage.
The study, based on a survey conducted at Tel Aviv's University's Social Sciences Faculty, included 605 respondents constituting a representative sample of the adult Jewish population in Israel. It revealed that 63% support the option of civil marriage, 25% oppose it and 12% did not respond.
Asked whether they would choose civil marriage if the option existed in Israel, 31.6% of the respondents said they would definitely or likely do so, and 63.8% said they would definitely or likely not do so.
Among seculars, 53.8% said they would definitely or likely choose civil marriage.
"Ahead of the next elections, we must demand that the parties commit to a civil government that will carry out a civil revolution, including civil marriage," said Hiddush Director Rabbi Uri Regev.