History in the making. Rotem
Photo: Tzvika Tishler

Knesset approves 'thin' civil marriage bill

Minimized version of law regulating nuptials of 'non-denomination' Israelis passes 56-4. United Torah Judaism, Shas MKs absent from vote

A minimized version of the civil marriage bill passed its second and third Knesset readings on Monday, with a majority of 56 Knesset members voting in favor of regulating the nuptials of "non-denomination" Israelis.


Four MKs voted against the bill. United Torah Judaism and Shas Knesset members were absent from the vote.


The new law allows non-Jewish Israelis, or citizens defined by the State as lacking religious denomination, to marry via the soon-to-be-formed marriage registrar bureau.


There are currently 60,000 people in Israel how are defined as "non-denomination" Israelis and therefore cannot marry through the Chief Rabbinate.


MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), who initiated the bill, welcomed the decision, saying that "this is a historical day. By introducing the term 'civil marriage' to Israel's legal code, we've managed to crack a 62-year-old wall.


"Sometimes, when you want to achieve a certain goal, you have to be smart about it. You can't keep an 'all or nothing' frame of mind – it get's you nowhere."


Coalition Chairman Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) also welcomed the new law: "Today the Knesset took a historic step forward when it assed a law that has been discussed for the past 15 years. We've proven that only through dialogue can we find solutions to complex issues regarding state and religion."


Meanwhile, Kadima, whose MKs voted in favor of the bill, issued a statement saying that "Netanyahu is losing control over the coalition.


"The blatant absence of Shas and United Torah Judaism from the vote and their disregard of coalitional discipline has uncovered the grave disagreements in Netanyahu's survival coalition and is another marker indicating that he has lost control over members of his government."


פרסום ראשון: 03.16.10, 00:58
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