How does this affect the secular public? A new survey reveals a major gap between secular Jews in Israel and the state religious establishment, as 80% say they would rather not get married through the Rabbinate.
In the survey, which was conducted last week by the Smith Institute for the Hiddush - For Religious Freedom and Equality association, 500 respondents (a representative sample of the adult Jewish population in Israel) were asked to choose between four options of marriage: 51% chose an Orthodox wedding (a 17% drop compared to the latest figure from the Religious and State Index), 28% favor civil marriage, 17% chose a religious Reform or Conservative wedding, and 4% prefer to live together without officially getting married.
A breakdown according to religious definitions found a huge gap between the different groups: 100% of hared Jews, 96% of religious Jews and 65% of traditional Jews would choose an Orthodox wedding according to Jewish Law for themselves and for their children, but 80% of secular Jews would not - mostly in favor of civil marriage. Among the non-haredi respondents, 54% chose a non-Orthodox marriage and 46% said they would get married through the Rabbinate.
'Taken hostage by political interests'
Attorney Rabbi Uri Regev, the CEO of Hiddush, said in response to the findings: "The survey clearly proves that the number of Israeli couples who wish to free themselves from the Rabbinate's chains is growing. Now that the creation of the coalition has been completed, it's important to strongly criticize the fact that tens of thousands of Israeli couples who wish to get married without the Rabbinate are taken hostage by foreign political interests.
"Not only does the Rabbinate's monopoly fail to contribute to the preservation of Judaism, it makes the broad public hate Judaism and identify it with dark fanaticism," the Hiddush CEO added.
"It's quite likely that within a short period of time the state will head back to the polls, and then the public will settle the score with those who let the haredi parties rule our lives. Then we will have another opportunity to introduce freedom of marriage in Israel. We must not miss out on that opportunity."