The Spousal Covenant (Brit Hazugiut), or the Covenant with the Status Quo

in Israel Studies Review
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In 2010, the Knesset passed the Spousal Covenant Act, which enables Israelis 'lacking religious affiliation' to marry and divorce in Israel. Using the 'twin tolerations' theory, I present the process and the actors involved in the legislation, pointing out that in Israel the twin tolerations are reflected in the so-called status quo. On the basis of that analysis, I argue that the spousal covenant, initially aimed at solving the problem of all individuals forbidden to marry in Israel, but especially 'non-Halakhic' Jews from the FSU, ended up as a marginalizing law, excluding those non-Halakhic Jews from the Jewish-Israeli collective. I further argue that non-Halakhic Jews from the FSU no longer contest the Israeli religious regime of inclusion and instead use the 'established bypasses'—cohabitation and civil marriage abroad—both to get married and to be part of the national collective.

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