State-employed rabbis will no longer be paid for officiating at weddings inside the districts in which they are employed, if a bill under debate Sunday by the Ministerial Legislative Committee is enacted by the Knesset.
Jewish weddings in Israel must be conducted by a rabbi registered with the Chief Rabbinate. Many who are employed full-time as rabbis of cities, neighborhoods, communities and local council also routinely conduct weddings inside their jurisdiction, for which they are paid by the wedding party, making for a lucrative side business.
The bill, sponsored by MKs Mordechai Yogev and Shuli Moalem, both of the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party, argues that such “extra” work should be considered part of the rabbis’ regular salaries and would make it illegal for rabbis to accept remuneration for weddings conducted inside the region where a rabbi is employed.
In 2009, the attorney general published a set of guidelines which attempted to ban the practice, but, thanks to loopholes, “did not correct the situation in a satisfactory manner,” according to the bill.