Mavoi Satum supports the institution of civil marriages in Israel for religious, democratic and practical reasons. When the State of Israel at its inception established the status quo agreement, it was largely based on concessions made by secular Israelis. The loss of a degree of personal freedom was seen as a small price to pay for a Jewish state. Today, in the wake of abuses of the agreement, there is increasing social pressure to reject the old arrangements, especially in issues of personal status.
Furthermore, the oppressive nature of divorce in this country and the increase in the number of mesoravot get has produced a historically unprecedented situation. Couples, even those who have been married before but have not received a religious divorce, are living together as husband and wife without a legal marriage. The public legitimacy these unions enjoy presents a real danger of increasing mamzerim (offspring of such unions who are ineligible to marry other Jews for ten generations)
Concern about this situation even motivates recognized halakhic decisors to speak in support of civil marriages. Rav Eliyahu Bakshi Doron, for example, has proclaimed publicly that “coerced religious marriage ceremonies for non-religious couples who have no interest in them creates halakhic problems that overshadow the benefit of requiring everyone in Israel to be married religiously.”
Finally, the institution of civil marriages in Israel would have a positive effect on the way the Rabbinate operates. It would motivate the rabbinic establishment to handle religious marriages more efficiently and humanely. It could even motivate them to find and implement legitimate halakhic solutions to the problems of agunot, mesoravot get, marriage between a cohen and a divorcee and to other kinds of religiously “invalid” marriages. The existence of an option to marry civilly would also reduce the pressure exerted by proponents of a an overly rigid Orthodox conversion process.