Orthodox Rabbis Admit To Doing Illegal Marriages And Divorces Not Approved By Haredi-Controlled Chief Rabbinate, Could Serve 2 Years in Prison
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Two Orthodox rabbis have admitted to bypassing the Chief Rabbinate and performing independent wedding ceremonies. Marrying outside the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate is illegal for Jews in Israel and for the rabbis who perform those ceremonies.
The couples and the rabbis who illegally married them could face up to two years in prison for their 'crime,' the Times of Israel reported based on a Channel 2 News report Saturday night.
Channel 2 interviewed both of the rabbis, Charles (Chuck) Davidson and Elli Fischer, along with a third Orthodox rabbi, Dr. Michael Abraham, who performs illegal independent Orthodox Jewish divorces known as gittin (“get” in the singular) outside the legally-mandated control of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
Abraham said the Chief Rabbinate, which is haredi-controlled, is “damaging, somewhat corrupt and monopolistic” – opinions shared by the vast majority of known haredi Israelis.
When asked by Channel 2 News how halakhic Judaism could be maintained and safeguarded if any rabbi who wanted to do so did his own independent marriages or divorces, Abraham replied that the Chief Rabbinate was incapable of protecting Judaism, which had managed well for centuries without it. Hopefully, Abraham said, Judaism would do so again very soon.
Fischer reportedly said the couples who ask him to marry them illegally “mostly do so as an act of protest against the [Chief] Rabbinate of Israel.” But for him, performing the illegal independent weddings “is an act of protest against the government of Israel” for allowing the Chief Rabbinate to have and abuse its monopoly over life-cycle events.
The overwhelming majority of non-Orthodox Jewish Israelis want civil marriage to be legalized and want religion and state to be separated by law.