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Knesset Passes Marriage Registration Reform Law Despite Haredi Opposition

The Knesset approved the so-called Tzohar Law, which would allow couples to choose the city in which to register their marriage.

The law passed its second and third readings Monday evening, over the objections of the country’s two chief rabbis, by a vote of 57 to 14, with one abstention. All of the no votes were from haredi Orthodox lawmakers.

Couples previously had to register their marriage in one of the communities in which they live. The new law allows them to choose a marriage registrar with whom they are more comfortable or who may be more lenient in cases that involve converts or immigrants.

There are 60 offices for the registration of marriages and conversions throughout the country.

The new law will also create a computerized database for the registrations, making the records accessible to all of the registrars. “The revolution in religious services is underway,” Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett wrote on his Facebook page following the vote.

The bill is named for the Tzohar organization, a group of rabbis that works to make rabbinic services more user friendly for all Israelis.

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