At least 30 Ethiopian-Israeli couples have been denied marriage licenses in Petah Tikva in the last nine months, Army Radio reports.
|Israeli PM Yitzhak Shamir greets new immigrants from Ethiopia, 1991.|
(Photo by Government Press Office)
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Ethiopian-Israelis registering for marriage licenses in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva reportedly are routinely rejected and forced to register elsewhere.
At least 30 Ethiopian-Israeli couples have been denied marriage licenses in Petah Tikva in the last nine months, Army Radio first reported Monday, when it interviewed an Ethiopian-Israeli woman identified as Shega, a Petah Tikva resident who is scheduled to be married in April.
In a conversation last week with the registrar that was secretly recorded, Shega said that despite presenting the paperwork proving she had converted to Judaism, the registrar asked her to provide a letter from a rabbi attesting to the fact that she was a practicing Orthodox Jew. He then suggested the couple register in her groom-to-be’s home community.
“I don’t understand,” the woman told The Jerusalem Post later on Monday. “I presented the forms and approvals from the rabbinate of Jerusalem, and that’s not enough for the rabbi of Petah Tikva, but approval from a rabbi of my ethnicity will satisfy him? They know that my wedding date is imminent, and in any event they are trying to make it difficult for me.
“Would a secular woman have received the same barrage of questions, or is it because of the color of my skin that I am subject to this embarrassing mask of questions?”
Platiel Eisenthal, the supervisor of the Petah Tikva religious council, told The Jerusalem Post when asked about the questions, “What is permitted and required in every other city is also permitted and required in Petah Tikva.” Eisenthal said the issue would be investigated.
Tzohar, an organization made up of religious Zionist rabbis who aim to bridge the gaps between religious and secular Jews in Israel, condemned the rejections.