Activists, among them Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova (second from right), holding signs and wearing wedding veils as they protest for the right to civil marriage in front of the Knesset in Jeruslaem on November 2, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli lawmaker Ksenia Svetlova married her fianc� this week in the Seychelles, and took the opportunity to criticize the Chief Rabbinate’s “monopoly on marriage” in Israel.

The Zionist Union member of Knesset, who has been an active proponent for civil marriage in Israel in parliament, said that the only one absent from their ceremony on the Indian Ocean island “was the Orthodox rabbinate, which has a monopoly on marriage in the State of Israel.”

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Israeli marriages are performed under laws inherited from Ottoman times. Citizens may only marry through their religious institutions: Jewish couples must marry through the Chief Rabbinate, and Christians, Druze and Muslims all marry through their own state-sanctioned and publicly funded religious systems.

Among Jews, only Orthodox ceremonies are recognized. This also impacts interfaith and same-sex marriages. Those who wish to marry or divorce outside the faith are forced to travel overseas for a civil ceremony, with nearby Cyprus one of the most popular options.

“We both felt that this entity has nothing to do with our Judaism, and we were not ready to be forced on the happiest day of our lives to play according to the rules of a game that is alien to us,” Svetlova wrote Monday on her Facebook page.

A poll released last month showed that 72 percent of Jewish Israelis support civil marriage and 76% of Arab Israelis favor marriage freedom in Israel, where citizens cannot legally marry outside their faith.

“No one has ownership of Judaism, and it is inconceivable that in a Jewish state one obsessive body will have an absolute monopoly on our lives!”

She said she hopes Israeli couples would be able to marry however they like in the future, and wouldn’t be forced to wed outside the country if they chose to do so in a non-Orthodox fashion.

“I will continue to work for this purpose at the Knesset, once I get back from my honeymoon,” she said.

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