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Ilp Revives Civil Marriage Bill

September 22, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Independent Liberal Party is dusting off its civil marriage bill and intends to submit it in the Knesset shortly, it was learned today. The bill, authored by ILP leader Gideon Hausner, a Minister-Without-Portfolio in the Rabin Cabinet, was held in abeyance under a coalition agreement not to submit the fiercely controversial measure during the first year of the coalition’s existence. It is bitterly opposed by the National Religious Party.

The proposal to revive it now that the year has passed was made by MK Yehuda Shaari and adopted unanimously by the ILP’s Knesset faction. The ILP is now in the process of collecting the required 30 signatures needed to call a special Knesset session to discuss the proposed bill.

These developments followed the disclosure last week that the Ministry of Religious Affairs maintains a secret “black list” of Israelis to whom the Chief Rabbinate denies marriage rites on halachic (religious law) grounds. The list currently contains the names of about 2500 men and women who are ineligible for marriage according to the Orthodox interpretation of halacha. They include uncircumcised men; people whose credentials as Jews do not satisfy the Orthodox rabbinate; women who are not permitted to marry on a variety of grounds including adultery; and male Cohens–purported descendents of the “priestly caste” –who may not wed a divorced woman.

The Hausner bill, if passed, would provide civil marriage for persons in these and other categories. Religious Ministry circles admitted the existence of the secret list after it was disclosed by MK Shulamit Aloni and other supporters of civil marriage. The Ministry claimed it was intended only for rabbis authorized to perform marriages.

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