The Next Religious Reform: Kahana Seeks to Legalize Marriage Outside of the Rabbinate

The building of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yet another storm is brewing in the religious community, after Minister of Religious Affairs Matan Kahana (Yamina) announced his next goal: to legalize marriage in Israel outside of the Chief Rabbinate.

While the struggle for his kashrus reform is still ongoing in the Knesset, Kahana is already signaling the struggle, which will lead to a serious loophole in halachah.

Minister Kahana was interviewed Tuesday by Yediot and said that he intends to bring about a change in the issue of marriage. “I believe that every citizen in the State of Israel should be able to legally exercise his partnership,” the minister said, noting that in his opinion, “marriage is a religious term. There are enough Rabbis who have given outlines.”

He noted, “I think this current coalition can do it… I do not think that if someone is forced to marry in the Rabbinate, it will make him marry by the Rabbinate, so I am convinced that in the State of Israel people should be able to realize their relationship, even if they do not want to do it through the Rabbinate. ”

Not surprisingly, Kahana received his first backing from a coalition member, when Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid) expressed his support for the move and wrote, “Minister Matan Kahana is right,” and responded, “It’s time and this is the coalition that will do it. Matan – I am with you.” Earlier this week, Razvozov claimed “that the Rabbinate is doing damage and must be dismantled.”

Kahana’s remarks provoked a wave of reactions from the chareidi representatives. UTJ chairman MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said, “Matan Kahana has set himself the goal of crushing every issue of Judaism in Israel and that there will be no trace left of it, chas v’shalom. And if, chalilah, it happens, we will return everything to its former state.”

MK Rabbi Michael Malkieli (Shas) also attacked Kahana’s new initiative, saying, “The Bennett-Kahana-Kariv coalition strives to promote the state of all its citizens and to crush the Jewish identity of the State.”

MK Rabbi Yoav Ben-Zur (Shas) said, “Throughout history, many peoples, tribes and nations have risen up against the Jewish nation, and they have become extinct and disappeared. On the other hand, the small and persecuted Jewish people, who throughout all the exiles and decrees fiercely preserved the Jewish tradition and the issue of marriage as per das Moshe v’Yisrael, remained alive and well forever. Kahana is working to uproot the tenets of Judaism.” He said, “Kahana is not the minister of religious services, he is the minister of the destruction of religion and the destruction of Judaism.”

MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) said, “The chareidi public will continue to uphold the Torah and halachah without compromise. Kahana’s reforms will not drop a single hair of Torah-true Judaism that has continued to adhere to the Torah for generations.”

Rabbi Eichler added: “Those who need to be concerned are the religious Zionism community, for whom Kahana destroys all the foundations of the ideological existence of the Mizrachi, and has turned the state of Bennett, Kahana and Mansour Abbas into an anti-Jewish Reform state.”