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Israel justice minister calls for relaxation of religious marriages rules

[JURIST] Israel's Chief Rabbinate [official website, in Hebrew], the body that authorizes and conducts marriages in the country, should allow marriages between people of different religious faiths, Israeli Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann [official profile] said Sunday. The Chief Rabbinate currently requires all marriages to adhere to Orthodox Jewish law and traditionally does not allow members of different religious faiths to marry. Last Tuesday, former Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court Aharon Barack [official profile] called on the Knesset [official website] to amend marriage laws [Ynetnews.com report] to provide Israeli citizens with a civil alternative to religious marriages. Ynetnews.com has more.

Considerable confusion exists over who qualifies for marriage in Israel due to controversies over conversion and the difficulties in establishing evidence of Jewish heritage among immigrants to Israel. Even converts to Orthodox Judaism can be denied marriage licenses [Jewish Telegraphic Agency report]. In March 2005, the Supreme Court of Israel eased [JURIST report] certain conversion laws regarding non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism not performed in Israel.

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