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Authors

Yuval Merin

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The Article begins by analyzing the characteristics of the right to family life and examining various deªnitions of the “family” under international and Israeli law. It argues that the absence of a clear, standard definition for the “family” and the exclusion of “alternative” family bonds leads to an infringement of the rights of many who, in practice, conduct a family life. Following this discussion, the Article analyzes the degree of protection accorded to the family in various contexts including: the right of the family to social security; parent-child relations; immigration rights based on family ties; and the freedom to marry. The most severe limitation on the right to family life within Israel relates to the lack of an option to marry in a civil ceremony. While international law recognizes the imposition of certain limitations on the freedom to marry, the additional limitations on the right to marry imposed by Jewish religious law constitute a breach of Israel’s international commitments. The Article thus concludes that the only way to guarantee equality within the family context—and to ensure the right of every individual to marry, free of the shackles of religious law, as mandated by international law—is the introduction of civil marriage in Israel.

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