At this stage, it is customary for the bride and groom to join their wedding guests for a joyful supper complete with music and dancing. In Israel, there is no civil marriage. As a result, all Jewish marriages in Israel are done in accordance with Orthodox Judaism. Many secular Israelis travel overseas to marry civilly outside of the state. In recent years, many liberal Jews have been marrying abroad in ceremonies that include all or part of the Orthodox ritual.
In 2009, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed legislation allowing individuals who are not religious to get married at government-authorized facilities. The law went into effect in 2011, but only after being challenged in court by several conservative organizations. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that while most matters of religion must be private, some can be public. The court said that while most Jewish marriages must take place under the supervision of a rabbi, some couples can have a minister conduct the ceremony instead. The high court's decision was criticized by many Orthodox members of Parliament who argued that it undermined the existence of civil marriage as defined by Israel's Law of Return.
In July 2015, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected an appeal filed by two attorneys who had argued on behalf of several hundred thousand non-Orthodox Jews that they were entitled to have their marriages registered without first attending a rabbi for counseling and training. The judges ruled that since most matters of religion must be private, some can be public.
Shabbat is not a day for Jewish marriages.
As a result, all Jewish marriages in Israel are done in accordance with Orthodox Judaism. Many secular Israelis travel overseas to marry civilly outside of the state. While these weddings are legally binding in Israel, they are not recognized as Jewish marriages by the rabbinate.
With limited exceptions, Israeli civil law prohibits marriages between Jews and non-Jews within the state of Israel. The Israeli government will recognize weddings done outside of Israel between Israeli Jewish citizens and non-Jews. Such marriages are not considered legal in Israel because only Jews can marry Jews under Israeli law.
The only exception to this rule is when one of the spouses is a citizen of the United States. In that case, the American spouse would be able to apply for an "Aliyah" (emigration) to live in Israel with his or her Jewish spouse. If successful, the American spouse would be granted citizenship in Israel.
Even if one or both spouses are American citizens, they would still need to file for Aliyah to live together as husband and wife. A person cannot simply move to Israel and expect to be given Israeli citizenship.
In addition, even if a Jew married a non-Jew in another country that permitted it, the marriage would not be recognized by Israeli authorities because only Jews may marry Jews under Israeli law.
However, many Israelis from the Diaspora have Israeli Citizenship because they consider themselves to be part of the Jewish people and believe that being Jewish is more than just a religion - it's also a culture and way of life.