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Israel Supreme Court Gets Test Case on Jurisdiction over Marriages

A hearing opened before the Israel Supreme Court yesterday on applications by two couples for injunctions to order the Interior Ministry and the Safed Rabbinical Court to recognize their marriages as legal. The couples indicated their goal was to win a ruling to upset the exclusive jurisdiction of Israel’s rabbinate over personal status matters.

The couples, both from collective settlements, were married before witnesses without participation of a rabbi in 1964. The Safed court refused to issue marriage certificates, contending that there were doubts as to the qualifications of the witnesses.