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Lapid, Michaeli vow to enable gold medal winner to marry

CM 02/08/2021

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Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Labor leader Merav Michaeli both promised on Monday to take steps to enable Olympic gold medalist Artem Dolgopyat to get married in the State of Israel.
Dolgopyat is not Jewish according to Jewish law, because his mother, Angela, is not Jewish and her children are not Jewish according to Orthodox law. Artem’s father, Oleg, is Jewish. Israel has no provision for civil marriage, and citizens can only marry through established religious institutions, such as the Chief Rabbinate, which will only marry members of the same religion.
“I’ll fight with all my might for civil unions for couples,” Lapid told The Jerusalem Post. “It’s intolerable that someone can fight on our behalf in the Olympics, represent us and win a gold medal and not be able to get married in Israel.”
Michaeli said it is unacceptable that Israel does not let Dolgopyat marry in the country. She said Labor would take action to help him immediately after the state budget is passed in November.

“Just like we broke the  kosher certification monopoly, the time has come to end the monopoly of marriage in Israel,” she said. “We will work in this Knesset to cancel that monopoly in Israel.”
But Shas leader Arye Deri told the Post that the steps Lapid and Michaeli vowed to take would make Israel no longer be a Jewish state.
“Even he doesn’t claim for himself that he is Jewish,” Deri said. “Winning a medal doesn’t make him Jewish. There is no discrimination against him. Our laws are consistent: For 73 years, marriage in this country has been run by Jewish law.”
Dolgopyat, whose girlfriend is from Belarus, told reporters in Tokyo that he did not want to address the subject.
“Those are things I want to keep in my heart,” he said. “It is not right to talk about it now.”
Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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