JERUSALEM (Sep. 10)
A politician who has pledged to make religious freedom a centerpiece of his campaign for prime minister has backed out of a promise to perform a secular wedding ceremony.
Tel Aviv Mayor Roni Milo had told Galit Lisser, 27, and Nir Assulin, 29 that he would marry them in an “alternative weddings fair” scheduled for Thursday evening in Tel Aviv.
Milo had called a press conference and invited the young couple for a rehearsal before the cameras on Wednesday.
But when the couple showed up at his office, Milo told them he had changed his mind based on advice from Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein, who told him that “marriages and divorces of Jews in Israel will be performed according to the rule of Torah.”
Disappointed, the couple turned to noted civil rights leader and former Knesset member Shulamit Aloni to perform the wedding instead.
The fair was organized by a group known as Hemdat as a protest against religious coercion.
Civil marriages performed in Israel are not recognized as valid by the state.