Knesset bills would ease marriage rules

Two bills that would allow Jewish couples in Israel to be married by Modern Orthodox rabbis in the city of their choice were approved by a Knesset committee.

The so-called “Tzohar laws,” named for the organization of Modern Orthodox rabbis that performs alternative wedding ceremonies for non-religious couples, would remove jurisdictional hurdles that prevent the organization’s rabbis from performing wedding ceremonies recognized by the office of the Chief Rabbinate.

The bills now move to the full Knesset for a first reading. Members of religious parties voted against the bills.

Jewish couples now must register with the rabbinate in the city or region of residence of one member of the couple. A Jewish couple must have a religious ceremony in Israel in order to be recognized as married. Many travel abroad to marry in secular ceremonies. — jta