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Norway willing to provide civil marriage registration for Israelis

Since sole authority over marriage and divorce resides with religious authorities, many couples who opt for a non-religious ceremony or seek an alternative overseas but due to pandemic, that option is beyond their reach

Kobi Nahshoni |
Published: 10.29.20 , 22:32
Norway has indicated it would agree to conduct marriage registrations for Israelis in its Tel Aviv embassy provided Israel's Interior Affairs and Justice ministries give their approval.
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  • The announcement came following a request by the Foreign Ministry that was made to a number of countries for the service but only Norway has thus far agreed.
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    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    There is no legal impediment to register marriages at the embassy under international law, but because of the sensitive nature of civil marriage in Israeli politics, the Norwegian government requested an official approval.
    The initiative to provide marriage registration for Israelis who opt for a non-religious ceremony or those turned away be the rabbinate, now unable to travel abroad because of the coronavirus pandemic, was the initiative of the chairperson of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee Miki Haimovich who said she would now be seeking the approval of the Minister of Interior, Aryeh Deri and of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
    ועדת הפניםועדת הפנים
    Chairperson of Knesset's Internal Affairs and Environment Committee MK Miki Haimovich
    (Photo: Knesset channel)
    Haimovich said she has received hundreds of requests for assistance from Israelis unable to marry in Israel for various reasons as well as those opting for a non-religious ceremony.
    "This is a basic right that must not be denied in a democracy and especially in these difficult times," she said.
    Under Israeli law marriage and divorce resides with religious authorities but a growing number of couples have opted not to involve the rabbinate in their personal lives.
    אריה דרעי אריה דרעי
    Interior Affairs Minister and leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party Aryeh Deri
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    Many also find they are turned away by rabbinical authorities on the basis of Jewish law and have only a civil option if they want to wed. Among them come from families who have immigrated to Israel from former Soviet republics and cannot provide the rabbinate with the required proof of their Judaism.
    Haimovich was backed by Likud MK Sharren Haskel who has tabled a law that would ensure marriage registration conducted in a foreign embassy would be recognized by the state. Haskel said the law would prevent political interests from interfering in the choice of citizens.

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