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Tel Aviv Jaffa Municipality to allow unmarried couples to register, receive services

The municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo announced Tuesday that it will allow unmarried couples, including same-sex partners, to register as family units in a unified database for the purpose of receiving equal access to municipal services, according to a press release from the city. 

Registration as family units under the municipality will apply to couples who live together and share a residence, as defined as a common-law couple by the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) or in accordance with the presentation of an attorney-signed affidavit attesting to cohabitation.

Upon completion of the registration process, Tel Aviv-Jaffe residents will be provided with a certificate that will streamline access to municipal rights and services, such as education access for children, community center discounts and parking permits for partners not on municipal property tax documents.

In recent days, the municipality has already registered three unmarried couples, among which include Etai Pinkas Arad, a city council member responsible for LGBTQ+ affairs in Tel Aviv-Jaffe. 

"Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality has taken a ground-breaking decision to enable the registration of unmarried couples, which has led to a wave of similar decisions in local authorities across the country. More than one million Israeli citizens now live in local authorities that recognize their partnership – even if they are unable or do not wish to marry through the rabbinate. This process is intensifying and will provide great leverage over the Interior Ministry to recognize such registrations, and over the Knesset to permit spousal agreements – and eventually also civil marriages," Pinkas Arad said. 

"We are excited to open the registration today and come full circle together with Yoav, my partner. We were married by the City of Toronto exactly 16 years ago, but our marriage has not been recognized by the State of Israel until today. I call on all municipal leaders to join this initiative and for the Knesset to do what it should have done decades ago, by enabling equal civil marriages for all," Pinkas Arad added. 

In light of the policy change, Tel Aviv-Jaffe Mayor Ron Huldai remarked on the importance of equal rights on issues of personal status as well as the importance of the change for the LGBTQ+ community. 

"I welcome the addition of registration for couples to the municipal databases. Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality recognizes every couple. The registration makes this clear and eases the bureaucracy for couples. I hope that the Israeli government will soon close the gap and step forward into the twenty-first century, by implementing equal rights in matters of personal status," said Tel Aviv-Yafo Mayor Ron Huldai in light of the new policy.

"In particular, progress is required in regards to the LGBTQ community: the right to marry, equal parenthood, protection from hate crimes and abuse in the workplace, and more. This message will originate from Tel Aviv-Yafo and spread across the country. We will not give up until rationality proves victorious," Huldai added.