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As gold medalist can’t marry in Israel, poll shows 65% back civil marriage

Artem Dolgopyat, Israeli artistic gymnastics men's gold medalist, stands with his fiancée Maria Sakovich, on his arrival at Ben Gurion Airportl, August 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Artem Dolgopyat, Israeli artistic gymnastics men's gold medalist, stands with his fiancée Maria Sakovich, on his arrival at Ben Gurion Airportl, August 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A survey by a nonprofit that campaigns for religious freedom shows 65% of Israeli adults support introducing civil marriage in the Jewish state, following a controversy over the fact that gymnastics Olympic gold medalist Artem Dolgopyat can’t marry in his home country.

The poll was conducted by Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality and by the Rafi Smith Institute.

It shows support for civil marriage varies greatly according to political leaning, with 100% of ultra-Orthodox party voters objecting and 98-100% of backers of the secularist Meretz and Yesh Atid parties supporting.

The parties whose voters are the most equally divided are Likud (58% support civil marriage, 42% oppose) and Yamina (62% support, 38% oppose).

Dolgopyat cannot legally get married in Israel since he is not Jewish by the standards of the Chief Rabbinate (his father’s family is Jewish, but his mother is not). He would need to travel abroad to have a civil marriage, which would be recognized by the state.

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