Since its founding, the State of Israel has made no provisions for nonsectarian marriage. The Ottoman-era millet system, which carved the populations under Turkey’s rule into confessional denominations, has essentially remained in place.

Christians marry in their respective churches, Muslims unite in accordance with Islamic law, and Jews must go through the Chief Rabbinate. No civil marriage options exist.

The vast majority of Jews and members of other faiths living in Israel accepted the status quo in the first few decades after the creation of the state. Even if most Israelis were secular, the default position on issues such as circumcision, marriage, divorce, and burial was “The synagogue I don’t go to is Orthodox.”

Starting in the 1990s, however, Israel’s society underwent major upheavals. Capitalism, globalism, the breakdown of old political hegemonies and the waves of immigration from the former Soviet Union radically changed Israeli society. […]

This infringes on people’s basic human and democratic rights. Citizens of this country are expected to pay taxes and to serve in the army, among other obligations. One of the rights the state should afford them is the ability to marry. The failure to do so is a stain on the Zionist enterprise we call the State of Israel.

It is time for this situation to change.