Interior Minister Eli Yishai
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Shas irate over ministers' support of 'Tzohar bill'

Faction objects to bill allowing citizens to register for marriage in any rabbinate in Israel, hints it may lead to coalition crisis. Official: We'll consider what to do next in upcoming days

The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs unanimously voted to approve the 'Tzohar bill,' which allows citizens to register for marriage at any rabbinate in Israel and not necessarily at the rabbinate in their place of residence.


Shas party officials have expressed their indignation over the government's overwhelming support of the proposal.


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"Shas objects this bill," one party official said on Sunday after the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs unanimously voted to approve the bill. "We'll consider what to do next in the upcoming days."


חילונים מבקשים להינשא ללא מגע עם הממסד הרבני הרשמי (צילום: ישראל ברדוגו)

Registering for marriage (Photo: Israel Bardugo) 


Another Shas official remarked that the bill in question was "very problematic for us." 


"We'll hold a faction meeting tomorrow and consider our response," a Shas member stated.


A preliminary vote on the bill is expected to take place next Wednesday. The ministerial approval now paves the way for the support of the coalition in the Knesset vote.


Religious Services Minister Yakov Margi and Tzohar Chairman Rabbi David Stav had reached a series of understandings last month, allowing the Modern Orthodox organization's rabbis to resume their wedding project.


If the bill is adopted by the Knesset it will "make it easier for young couples to register for marriage, saving them precious time and unnecessary travel expenses without the State having to pay for it," the lawmakers who submitted the proposal wrote.


Dealing with issue

In October, the Tzohar rabbis' organization decided to stop performing wedding ceremonies, pointing a finger at Minister of Religious Services Margi. The latter has decided to fight back.


"The public is being misled and ridiculed," Margi argued in a conversation with Ynet.


Margi claimed that while he would rather have all marriages registered in the Rabbinate, he was not ignoring the public's desire to seek other options and planned to regulate the issue.


He stated that there was no discrimination between Tzohar and private rabbinical courts which register marriages.


The religious services minister stated that "there was no attempt to shut down Tzohar," adding that although the enforcement of regulations began eight months ago, he postponed the reduction in the number of marriage certificates used by the organization until after the High Holidays "so as not to cause trouble during the summer, when everyone gets married."


"I'm only trying to clean up the system and provide service, but we need some transparency here," the minister said. "A marriage certificate is not Yakov Margi's piece of paper, but a legal document of the State of Israel."




פרסום ראשון: 12.18.11, 18:43
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