Survey: nearly 80% of secular Israeli Jews want civil marriage

A new survey shows that 80 percent of secular Jews in Israel don't want to marry through the Rabbinate. Credit: Jason Hutchens via Wikimedia Commons.

( A new survey reveals that 80 percent of secular Jews in Israel do not want to marry through the Rabbinate, with most of those preferring a civil marriage.

The survey, conducted by the Smith Institute for Hiddush - For Religious Freedom and Equality, questioned 500 people who constituted a representative sample of adult Jews living in Israel. The respondents had to choose between four marriage options.

According to the results 51 percent said they prefer an Orthodox wedding, though this is a 17 percent drop from the most recent prior measurement by the association. Twenty-eight percent said they prefer a civil marriage, 17 percent said they prefer a Jewish Reform or Conservative wedding, and 4 percent said they prefer to cohabitate without getting married.

Among secular Jews a vast majority did not favor a religious marriage and preferred a civil ceremony. This finding is at odds with current Israeli law, which recognizes Jewish religious marriage only if conducted by an Orthodox rabbi under the authority of the Rabbinate, and does not allow civil marriage in Israel. However the marriages of couples who marry in a civil ceremony abroad are recognized by the state.

"The survey clearly proves that the number of Israeli couples who wish to free themselves from the Rabbinate's chains is growing," said Attorney Rabbi Uri Regev, the CEO of Hiddush, Yedioth Achronoth reported.

Posted on May 10, 2015 .