Following a contempt of court motion by Gisha in the Sharia Court, the Population Authority changes applicant’s personal status to “married”
Gisha filed a motion for contempt of court to the Sharia Court in Jaffa under Section 6(1) of the Contempt of Court Order (Hebrew) on June 29, 2014. The motion was directed against the Population Authority for its failure to change the applicant’s personal status to “married”.
The applicant, an Israeli citizen, is married to a Palestinian resident of the Gaza Strip. In response to an order issued by the Population Authority, the couple submitted a request to the Jaffa Sharia Court in order to confirm their marriage. The Sharia Court confirmed the marriage in a judicial decision on July 28, 2013.
Despite this, when the applicant presented the court’s decision to a population registration clerk in Akko, and in spite of the explicit wording of the judicial decision instructing all state authorities to rely on it and register the marriage, the Population Authority did not change her personal status to “married”. Instead, her status was registered in the Population Registry as “under review”. Hence, Gisha filed the contempt of court motion.
On September 16, 2014, two weeks prior to the date set for the motion hearing, the applicant went to the Population Registry office to obtain passports for her children. During that visit, a new summary of her registration status was given to her, showing that her personal status had been change to “married”, making the contempt of court motion moot.
The Population Authority registration clerk’s refusal to change the applicant’s personal status was based on Section C.2 of the Population Authority’s Procedure 2.11.000, Procedure for Changes and Amendments to Marital Status Marriage/Divorce/Widowhood (Hebrew). On July 6, 2014, Gisha petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to have this section of the procedure deleted. On October 19, 2014, the HCJ erased the petition. In its explanation, it emphasized the fact that the particular matter of the petitioners had been resolved and the fact that the Population Authority had itself begun to examine the regulation.