Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Adar II 5763 - March 5, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Sharon Tells Lapid: Religious Affairs Ministry to Close Within One Year
by E Rauchberger

Following a meeting between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Justice Minister Yosef Lapid Monday morning, the two announced that the religious councils (moatzot dat) would begin to be dismantled within days and the Ministry of Religious Affairs would be dismantled within the new government's first year in power.

Although still in his first week as Justice Minister, Lapid plans to table a revolutionary bill in the Knesset in the near future that would allow civil marriage in Israel for the first time, according to a report in Yediot Achronot that included a copy of the proposed bill drafted by the Justice Ministry. The bill would provide a solution for tens of thousands of pesulei chitun previously unable to marry in Israel, but not to couples who, although halachically eligible to marry, elect for civil marriage. Now they have to travel abroad for such a ceremony which is then recognized in Israel, but they would prefer not to travel abroad. According to the proposed law, which was approved by the Mafdal during coalition negotiations, "Every individual has a fundamental right to marry and set up a family, but the in Israel there is a large number of citizens who are unable to utilize these rights in practice" because they cannot marry everyone--pesulei chitun.

The law purports to help Israelis and Israeli residents who are currently considered pesulei chitun such as, couples from different religions, those whose religion is not recognized as a religion, and those who have no religion. According to legal experts, the most acute problems in this area are among new immigrants from Ethiopia and from the former Soviet Union.

Today unqualified couples marry abroad, by correspondence or in consular marriages. According to the proposed law these couples would be recognized as married by the Couples' Registrar, a new institution that would be set up at the Justice Ministry.

The bill also addresses divorce for pesulei chitun. According to the bill, "Today those who wish to divorce must contact the Attorney General and wait for his decision, which is an unreasonable [procedure]."


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