Zion to Zion by Ben Zion


An article in the Forward by Ilan Ben Zion about "a growing number of Israelis … opting … [to get] married virtually in the state of Utah":

That seemingly simple act has landed [Shira Hofesh] at the center of a case before the Israeli Supreme Court, one that — if her appeal succeeds — could fundamentally change the options available to Israeli couples unable to get hitched in the Holy Land.

Hofesh's husband, Alexey Kabishcher, immigrated to Israel from Ukraine as a child but is not recognized as Jewish by the Orthodox Rabbinate. As a result, the couple could not get married in Israel.

Israel, in a provision that stems from the old pre-1918 Ottoman system, provides that marriages are to be done through the couple's religious community. This "make[s] it impossible for intermarriage or same-sex weddings to take place in Israel, or even Jewish weddings performed by non-Orthodox rabbis," which has led to many Israelis getting married in nearby Cyprus. But the pandemic has shut off physical travel, and thus led to virtual marriage tourism:

Last year, the Beehive State approved wedding ceremonies over the internet in which only the officiating party is located in Utah proper, and which doesn't require any of the parties to be residents of the state. Israelis like Hofesh started flocking — virtually — to Utah, prompting Israel's interior minister to institute a freeze on marriages performed in Utah.

Read the whole article here.

UPDATE: Commenter Bored Lawyer wins the comment thread:

If anyone knows any reason this man and this woman should not be married, let him click RAISE HAND (or type ALT-Y) now or forever hold your peace.

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  1. “This “make[s] it impossible for intermarriage or same-sex weddings to take place in Israel”

    Wow, that’s messed up.

    1. It’s not your business.

      1. Don Nico: Well, literally, I suspect it isn’t Queen Amalthea’s actual line of business. But if you’re suggesting that people ought not criticize other countries’ laws, why would that be so?

      2. I pay for that. That makes it my business.

  2. Great! Now Israel can be filled with more shiksas! Seriously, they need to fuck off and take the fags to Cyprus with them.

    1. This is the kind of guy who complains about ‘cancel culture’ when people don’t want to associate with him…Says a lot about the whole anti-cancel culture crowd and argument.

      1. I’m not sorry. Israel is a Jewish state for the Jewish people. If you don’t like the Jewish definition of marriage, go to an Arab country for a gay “marriage”.

        1. Doesn’t Israel recognize Muslim marriages that are conducted in Israel? I’ve heard that Israel is the freest country to be a Muslim of the minority sect in.

          1. Yes, of course. They just defer to the appropriate religious authority.

          2. >Israel recognize Muslim marriages
            Yes but I consider than an unfortunate compromise.
            Kahane was right! Arabs OUT!

          3. The law in Israel is that each religious community must be married (and divorced) by its own religious authorities. So intra-Muslim marriages are definitely recognized, as are intra-Christian ones.

            1. Well, if neither of you is an observant anything, and Israel recognizes intra-Christian marriages, I don’t know why they don’t just go there.

              *Some* require evidence of baptism, but not all, and we’ve been marrying mixed Jewish/Christian couples for decades without problems. The Catholics won’t, and not all Protestant churches will, but some do.

              Memory is that the U/Us were marrying gays long before gay marriage was legally recognized anywhere.

        2. How do you know God isn’t an Arab lesbian? (Not saying she is; just asking how you know she isn’t.)

            1. I just spoke to her. She said you’re full of shit.

      2. You mean, because one moron pretends to espouse some of the beliefs held by millions of people, it disparages that belief categorically?
        I am curious what you think of Bernie-volunteer James Hodgkinson and what is says about support for Sanders and leftism generally.

      3. “Says a lot about the whole anti-cancel culture crowd and argument”

        So … an obvious troll who veers wildly in making blatant anti-semetic remarks and then racist remarks with the complete opposite viewpoint … thats gonna be how you view an entire group of people, most of whom aren’t like that?

        If you form your impression about people from trolls than I’d suggest getting off the internet and you know talking to people.

    2. RabbiHarveyWeinstein: Please avoid vulgar insults, even in what I assume is your usual deadpan parody. (I’ve deleted a couple of your comments on these grounds, and I would have deleted this one, but this one has led to quite a few responses which would likewise vanish if I deleted the comment.)

      Of course, just to make it super clear, I have no objection to people quoting “God Hates Fags” or “Fuck the Draft” and the like; indeed, I prefer it when people quote that literally rather than expurgating (though I leave it to the commenters’ discretion). But I took your comment as using the words as insults, rather than mentioning or quoting them.

      1. I’m sorry Eugene. In the future, I will avoid using offensive slurs when trying to troll those right-wing simpletons who cling to their guns and their faith.

  3. Interesting twist, not having government marriage but only allowing specific churches to marry people.

    Also … says the wife submitted the paperwork Nov 1 and now, not even three months later, it’s at their Supreme Court. Amazing! Guess some crises are more important than others.

  4. Only makes sense after the Jews spent 40 years wandering through the Deseret…

    1. Why didn’t someone ask for directions?

      1. Because the men were in charge?

        1. There’s a joke that begins, “What did Mrs. Moses say when the Children of Israel finally arrived in Canaan after 40 years in the wilderness?” and it has two answers.

          Answer No. 1 is “Praise Jesus!”
          Answer No. 2 is “If you had asked for directions like I told you to.”

    2. How do you feel about the whole “Israelis migrated to North America and became native Americans” plot line in the Book of Mormon?

      1. Stranger things HAVE happened…

      2. Well at one time they thought it was a crazy idea that they ended up in Ethiopia.

        But that is probably why most Native American tribes oppose archeological research and dna research of tribal members.

    3. Deseret! I get it!

      They didn’t find the Promised Land there but at least they found the promised Jell-O…

  5. “If anyone knows any reason this man and this woman should not be married, let him click RAISE HAND (or type ALT-Y) now or forever hold your peace.”

    1. “now or forever hold your peace.”
      Toobin tried that and look where it got him.

      1. Has “tuggin’ a toobin'” entered common parlance as a euphemism for masturbation yet?

      2. Must you drag my perfectly clean joke into the gutter? If you have nothing better to do, then emulate Toobin. (But not online.)

  6. How does Utah identify the people and if the participants are truly willing (and are actually people and not a sheep/rock/light bulb, etc .)?

    I mean I’m sure there’s a handful of people in the world who would love to marry their dead grandmother’s underwear.

    Can anyone get a Utah driver’s license on line? Divorce?

    I’m running for Utah governor…um even though I’m sitting in Namibia.

  7. “doesn’t require any of the parties to be residents of the state”

    Is this within the power of a state? Residents of other states may not be able to get married there [too young, too close of a relation] so why should Utah be able to bypass these restrictions?

    Making them come to your state at least brings them under that state’s jurisdiction, if only for a short time.

    1. “Full faith & credit”

      Of course, I’d worry about fraud…

    2. Getting married in other states is a long and much-enjoyed tradition, both for evading local marriage requirements and just for fun. New Yorkers would drive down to Maryland, which did not require a test for STDs; Californians would drive out to Nevada; lots of people go to Las Vegas or Hawaii.
      So long as the state imposes the same restrictions on its own residents (and voters) and is willing to live with those consequences, it seems perfectly reasonable to me.

  8. Will the zion lay down with the zamb?

  9. Why are Jewish weddings performed by non-Orthodox rabbis prohibited? Don’t civil marriages exist? That seems the weirdest result.

    1. Reformed “Jews” are basically goyim. Female rabbis, gay “marriage”, uncircumcised boys….they promote all that shit.

      1. So what? Who says they can’t be Jewish?

        You got a citation from the Lord?

    2. Just for the record, the article clearly states civil marriages do not exist.

      1. Without a beer, an airline, and civil marriages (superstition-free), it isn’t a real country.

        Everybody (who is anybody) knows this.

    3. Right, civil marriages don’t exist in Israel. And the Orthodox rabbinate can kibosh marriages to. For example, I believe a cohan, that is a male descendant of the priestly tribe, may be unable to marry a divorced woman. (I trust someone will correct me if I am wrong about this.)

      This is a yet another source of tension between the strictly religious and the not so religious. Theocracies are problematic.

  10. What I don’t understand is how only Orthodox Rabbis can marry Jews. If both partners are members of one of the other sects of Judaism, and they have a proper Synagogue and Rabbis and all the rest, why can’t their Rabbis marry them?

    That said, I don’t see why a Protestant church won’t marry them. We’ve had “mixed” marriages (Jew & Christian) for decades and nothing is really ever said about that, at least that I am aware of.

    A significant portion of the Universalist Unitarians don’t even believe in God — although that may be unique to some of their congregations.

    Even my fairly-conservative church doesn’t have specified marriage vows — we usually use the Catholic’s vows but most Ministers will let you write your own. We’ve been marrying divorced Catholics for decades — the Catholic church refuses to do it, so we do. And I suspect that most Ministers would marry two Jews if the Jewish “church” refused to do it — it would be seen as “the Christian thing to do.”

    There’s gotta be Christian churches in Israel…

    1. I got the impression it’s not a church problem, it’s what marriage licenses the Israel government will recognize after the fact.

    2. I don’t see why a Protestant church won’t marry them.

      Maybe because the minister believes marriage ceremonies should be conducted in the name of Jesus?

      1. I’ve never heard that said in any of the weddings I’ve attended.

    3. What I don’t understand is how only Orthodox Rabbis can marry Jews. If both partners are members of one of the other sects of Judaism, and they have a proper Synagogue and Rabbis and all the rest, why can’t their Rabbis marry them?

      Because there’s only one Jewish millet, run by Orthodox rabbis.

      That said, I don’t see why a Protestant church won’t marry them.

      Millet assignments are done by the State of Israel. If you’re in the Jewish millet, another millet’s clergy can’t marry you.

      The fourteen recognized communities are the Sunni Muslim community, the Eastern (Orthodox) Community, the Latin (Catholic) Community, the Gregorian Armenian Community, the Armenian (Catholic) Community, the Syrian (Catholic) Community, the Chaldean (Uniate) Community, the Jewish Community, the Greek Catholic Melkite Community, the Maronite Community, the Syrian Orthodox Community (all eleven inherited from the Ottoman Empire), the Druze Community (recognized 1957), the Evangelical Episcopal (Anglican) Church (recognized 1970), and the Bahai Community (recognized 1971).

      1. So, in other words, Israel wouldn’t recognize it’s greatest American supporters, Protestants.


        1. Not quite, though it’s true that it’s more complicated for Protestants. This is from the U.S. Embassy in Israel:

          Only the religious communities mentioned above have de jure status in Israel. Other groups, including Protestant churches, have only de facto recognition; and in the absence of specific legislation on the subject, marriage between Protestants is arranged on ad hoc and individual basis.

          The minister who plans to perform the ceremony writes to the Ministry for Religious Affairs, setting forth the names of the persons to be married, their nationality, and their religious affiliation. He requests the Ministry’s permission to perform the marriage and to issue a marriage certificate. Protestants planning to be married in Israel should allow from two to four weeks to complete the formalities required before the marriage can take place.

    4. The Orthox rabbinate has a lock on these things because the founders (Ben Gurion) gave it to them in the interest of political compromise. Wouldn’t happen today if they were starting anew, and it may not always stay this way. But with Israel’s very divided politics, the religious parties are regularly kingmakers and keep their hold on certain matters. As you might imagine, this causes much tension and resentment.

  11. Yeah Israeli marriage laws, from what I’ve heard from quite a few Jewish friends, are really strange.

    I dont quite understand, Haredi Jews are what, 12% of the Israeli population? Politically they control maybe 15% of the seats in government? They have a lot of political power but to control the entire marriage system?

    And how does it work that only maybe a quarter of the population can get married?

    But it is funny that to get around same sex marriage prohibitions Utah is choosen of all places.

    1. “And how does it work that only maybe a quarter of the population can get married?”

      Because that’s not how it works.

  12. So you can’t just start a religion in Israel and then marry people? I hope at least Utah is charging the Israeli’s for the marriage…think of it as reverse foreign aid…and going to Utah..a good red state not NY or Cali..oh the irony…ha ha

  13. “in a provision that stems from the old pre-1918 Ottoman system”

    Ottoman? I think they misunderstood Psalm 110:1 – “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

    1. So it was the Ottomans who f*cked up that part of the world.

      I’d always blamed the British & French for doing it a century ago, but it probably does extend further back.

      And say what you want about Trump, he did get some significant peace treaties signed.

      1. An ottoman “may be used as a stool, footstool[2][3] or as an alternative to a sofa.”

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