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Minister Denies Israeli Rabbinate Keeps ‘black Book’ of Marriage Ineligibles

Dr. Zerach Warhaftig, the Minister of Religious Affairs, denied in the Knesset yesterday that the Israeli rabbinate kept a “Black Book of Outcasts” containing the names of persons not eligible for marriage according to religious law. But he admitted that there was a list of persons whose marriages were being delayed while religious authorities investigated their status.

He said this was done mainly to determine whether the applicants for marriage licenses were single. He said 600,000 marriages had been consummated in Israel since the State was established out of which only 200 were blocked pending further investigation. Dr. Warhaftig expressed surprise that the problem of “mamzerim” (illegitimates) according to religious law was a national issue inasmuch as there were only two persons in the country so categorized. He was referring to the Langers, a brother and sister who were forbidden by the rabbinate to marry the partners of their choice because the rabbis deemed them “illegitimate.” According to the minister, the only solution to the problem of “mamzerim” was “family purity.”