Prior to getting married in Eretz Yisrael one must open a file with the local rabbinate in one’s city of residence. As part of the process, one must bring two male witnesses, not relatives, to sign an affidavit that the bride and groom are single and clear for marriage. To date, the rabbinate would not permit women to sign such a statement.
Recently, the Itim organization filed a request to change this long-standing policy, citing this is not a classical case of a woman giving eidus (testimony) and as such, there is no Halachic reason that a woman cannot sign the affidavit. Itim feels such a move would facilitate the process for frum women since they do not usually have male friends.
While nothing is final until it is signed, it now appears that the local rabbinate offices around Israel will comply with the request and the new arrangement, permitting women to sign. A timetable for compliance is not being announced.
The Chief Rabbinate Council last year approved the move, permitting women to sign too, but the change has not been implemented in the field to date.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)