Jul 27, 2020

Proposed Law: civil marriage in foreign embassies

MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) has proposed a law that would help Israelis interested in civil marriage but unable to travel due to CoronaVirus restrictions. 

Normally anyone interested in civil marriage, either due to the Rabbanut not allowing them to marry because of halachic impediments or just because they only want a civil marriage would usually travel abroad, often to Cyprus, or arrange for something local but off the record and possibly illegal. With travel restrictions the way they are, these people want/need a solution.

To that end, Haskel is proposing a law that would allow them to go to the embassy, in Israel, of one of the foreign countries and get their civil marriage there.
source: Maariv

According to Hamechadesh, the Haredi parties are, understandably, upset about this proposal. They see it as damaging to the family unit and halachic marriage system that has always been protected in Israel. They are especially upset because it is coming from a coalition partner - a Member of Knesset from the Likud rather than from the Opposition such as from Meretz. 

They are especially concerned in light of last week's vote for the law proposal about prohibiting conversion therapy in which some coalition members, including Kachol Lavan and at least with Likud ember voting in favor, in addition to other Likud members staying away allowing it to pass. They are hopeful that this time the coalition members will play ball with what is sacred to the Haredi parties and will vote against this bill. 

Last time Kachol Lavan seemed to use the vote for an Opposition bill as some sort of revenge against Netanyahu, so it is likely that this time they won't want to upset the Haredim that they have been working to keep happy. With Likud members also tacitly supporting the bill last time, this one remains a question, though I suspect they won't want to upset their coalition partners and will either have Haskel pull the proposal or vote against. This is one of those things where it seems other parties are not allowed to have their own position against the Haredi parties' position due to coalition politics. If they pass this bill I would be very surprised.


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8 comments:

  1. Why would a law be needed? Since, legally, the embassy is foreign territory, why can't any Israeli walk into an embassy today and get married there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An embassy isn't legally foreign territory. It's treated as such, but it isn't really.

      Delete
  2. that's a good question and I too was wondering why that loophole (sort of) hasnt been used until now. Maybe there is some stipulation that they are not allowed to perform such weddings against Israeli law or for Israeli citizens... but I really dont know

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  3. while I still don't have a clear answer, from something I read this morning it seems that the law extends the Rabbanut authority over Jewish weddings (and other lifecycle events) to include embassies. This law proposal would make an exception from the current law for these extra-territorial locations

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is weird - I have never heard of the host country having any jurisdiction in an embassy.

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    2. All host countries have jurisdiction over embassies. By courtesy they are *treated* as foreign territory, but they aren't really.

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    3. interesting. thanks. I didnt know that

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  4. This used to be very common in the 80s (or maybe 90s). There used to be at least one foreign embassy in Tel Aviv (I don't remember which one) which used to regularly perform weddings.

    If I recall correctly, the Knesset (or maybe Supreme Court) asked them to stop as although technically the Israeli government had no right to stop them, it was regarded as inappropriate to perform a ceremony which would be illegal in the host country.

    BTW - most embassies cannot perform weddings as they may not have a person licensed to perform weddings stationed at the embassy, or their local Ministry of Interior may not be able to issue a marriage licenses from the embassy, especially as the majority of embassies are very small with only a handful of staff, some embassies are a small office with 1 or 2 diplomats posted there.

    In any case, I think that allowing people to marry at a foreign embassy a wonderful solution, the fact that many Israelis are unable to wed legally in this country is a massive problem, and this is an elegant solution (in my opinion) without needing to undermine that status of the Rabbinate or change any laws.

    ReplyDelete

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