However the Israel Government Chooses to Act, the Chief Rabbinate Is Losing Its Control over Marriage

The Israeli chief rabbinate’s exclusive control over marriage and divorce has long caused discontent, even if little has come from politicians’ calls for reform. But now, argues Shmuel Rosner, the rabbinate’s monopoly may have been broken without the Knesset passing a single bill:

[S]ome things aren’t determined by legislators and ministers. They are determined by the people. . . . First, support for relaxing laws governing the marriage market is widespread. . . . Sixty percent of Likud voters support [official recognition of non-Orthodox] marriages, [as do] 94 percent of Blue and White voters. . . .

The second issue clarified in the past few weeks is that a growing number of Israelis already are voting with their feet on this issue. The Central Bureau of Statistics released new data revealing that about 35,000 Jewish couples were married by the rabbinate in 2017. In the same year, another 8,000 couples married outside of the rabbinate—some in Cyprus, some in the Czech Republic, or the United States. So, the number of ceremonies abroad is already close to one-fifth of all weddings of Israeli Jews. At the same time, the number of Israelis who don’t even bother to marry legally also has risen.

The rabbinate has a product to sell. It is the only institution legally allowed to sell this product. And yet, people aren’t buying it. If the secular half of the public turns its back on the rabbinate, all the known arguments for the exclusivity of a rabbinate-mandated route—the most common of which is the need to maintain the unity of the people—collapse. I suspect they have already collapsed.

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Israeli Chief Rabbinate, Jewish marriage, Judaism in Israel, Religion and politics

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7