The Forward and friend of Letters Blogatory Eugene Volokh have both written about an interesting case before the Israeli Supreme Court. In Israel, which kept the old Ottoman laws on personal status after independence, all marriages must be contracted in a religious ceremony; there is no civil marriage. This law makes it impossible for some Jews to marry in Israel, for example, because the Chief Rabbinate does not recognize one of the spouses as Jewish. Many Israelis in this situation have gone to Cyprus to have a civil marriage, and under ordinary rules of private international law Israeli courts do recognize such marriages as valid (because they were valid where contracted). But COVID travel restrictions have made that avenue difficult.
Enter Utah, which allows “virtual” weddings in which neither spouse has to be present in Utah. The question is whether Israeli law recognizes such marriages as valid. (more…)