Almost 20 percent of Israeli couples who married in 2010 did so outside Israel, a survey released by the Central Bureau for Statistics on Monday revealed.
According to the data, 47,855 couples were married by the Chief Rabbinate in 2010, while 9,262 couples reported that they married abroad. In total, some 47,500 married couples live in Israel today who married outside the country. Many of these couples reportedly did so to avoid dealing with what many feel is the Chief Rabbinate's superfluous bureaucratic process.
The CBS predicted that the number of Israeli couples seeking to marry abroad, outside the jurisdiction of the Chief Rabbinate, would jump by 40% in the next decade, or by 13,000 couples per year.
The survey found that of the couples who wed abroad, 73% were Jewish, while only 2% were Arab. Two out of every five couples who married abroad could have legally been married by the Chief Rabbinate, but chose not to. In about a third of the couples who married abroad, one of the partners was not Jewish or had an unspecified religion at the Interior Ministry.
Some 2,032 couples (22% of those who married abroad) chose to wed in the U.S., while 1,542 couples (17%) wed in the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, and a similar proportion chose Russia and its satellite states. Fifteen percent, or 1,348 couples, married in the Czech Republic, and 4% (374 couples) were married in Canada. About 3% (313 couples) married in France, the U.K. or Australia.