A Jew marrying a non-Jewish woman? Dear God! A Jewish woman marrying a non-Jewish man? Heaven forbid! A woman marrying a woman? May God protect us. A man marrying a man? No way. Civil marriage? Abomination.
So what's left? A Jewish man may marry a Jewish woman, and they had better do it in the Rabbinate. And what will the rest of the people do, including homosexuals, lesbians, atheists or those without any religious affiliation – who are all, by the way, law-abiding and tax-paying citizens? They can take care of themselves.
It's hard to believe that in 2013, a bill allowing each citizen to marry as he pleases, according to his taste and his faith, is still considered revolutionary. Israel may be a democratic country in terms of the government system – but in its nature and spirit it is still far away from being a liberal country, which respects the most basic rights of its citizens. And there is no other area in which it disrespects its citizens more than in marriage laws, which are still controlled by the Rabbinate's draconian monopoly.
These laws are shamefully still determined by religious law, which imposes different restrictions on a person's right to get married. And whoever doesn't want to or can't, is forced to go out of the country to do so.
I know, because after going through the entire Israeli route – from kindergarten through military service to university – I discovered that in my own country I am not allowed to marry according to my faith. And in order to wed in a civil marriage, I was forced to travel abroad.
That was when I found out that Israel was the only democracy in the Western world still imposing serious restrictions on the freedom of marriage – as is customary only in the most backward Islamic countries.
The result is quite expected: More and more Israeli couples (almost 9,000 in 2011) fly abroad every year to get married, and more and more couples give up on this headache altogether and live together without tying the knot. Some of our best friends live that way – including proud straight couples – without lacking a single thing. On the contrary.