Indian Jews in Israel Complain Against Withholding Marriage Licenses

The Chief Rabbinate has decided not to alter its position that the question of marriages between Jewish immigrants of the Indian B’nei Israel community and other Israeli Jews be left to the discretion of local rabbinic authorities, it was announced here today.

The latest decision by the Chief Rabbinate followed protests by B’nei Israel immigrants that some local rabbinic authorities were withholding marriage certificates from them. Objections by the rabbis refusing to grant them marriage certificates stem from the question as to whether the marriage and divorce proceedings heretofore practiced by B’nei Israel Jews were conducted according to the traditional Jewish law.

The Chief Rabbinate decision declared that so long as no new authoritative findings appeared in connection with the B’nei Israel community, there was no reason to review the question of marriage by B’nei Israel Jews outside their own community. Since there is a difference of opinion on the question among religious authorities within the B’nei Israel community as well as within the Chief Rabbinate, the latter has decided not to ban such marriages but to leave the question up to the local rabbis. There are about 7, 000 B’nei Israel Jews in Israel.

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