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 Ugly Roots of Ireland’s Anti-Israel Policies

Prime Minister Varadkar’s meretricious messaging concerning the freeing of a kidnapped child is only one example of the Irish government’s perverse reaction to Hamas’s assault on Israel. Varadkar has accused the IDF of pursuing “something approaching revenge” in Gaza, and compared the Israeli war effort to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. His parliament, meanwhile, came close to expelling the Israeli ambassador. Terry Glavin writes:

In a recent interview, . . . the retired Irish diplomat Niall Holohan put it this way: “We feel we have been victimized over the centuries. It’s part of our psyche—underneath it all we side with the underdog.” But there’s something else in the Irish psyche that’s impolite to mention in the comfy Dublin pubs and bistros. . . . Not a few of Ireland’s gallant and celebrated champions of the underdog, its heroes of Irish freedom, were vulgar anti-Semites and Nazi collaborators.

And in recent years, Irish Jews are commonly baited, harassed, and badgered every time there is some eruption in Israel involving Palestinian “resistance.”

The republican pamphleteer Arthur Griffith approved [of anti-Jewish agitation in Limerick in 1904], calling Jews “usurers and parasites.” Griffiths was one of the founders of Sinn Féin, in 1905, and he served as Sinn Féin’s president in 1911.

There was always a deep division in the Irish nationalist movement between Irish republicans who felt an affinity with the Jews owing to a shared history of dispossession and exile, and Catholic extremists who ranted and raved about Jews. Those Catholic shouters are still abroad, apparently unaware that for half a century, Catholic doctrine has established that anti-Semitism is a mortal sin.

Read more at National Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Gaza War 2023, Ireland