Enter the marriage conundrum. In Israel, all valid marriages conducted abroad are recognized by the state, and foreign same-sex marriages are recorded for statistical purposes. That means a gay couple that weds in, say, the Netherlands remains wed in Israel. But that doesn’t mean a gay couple in Tel Aviv can walk down to city hall and procure a marriage license. Marriage is an exclusively religious institution in Israel, with separate religious authorities for Jews and Muslims, Christians and Druze. For Israeli Jews, marriage policy is dictated by the Chief Rabbinate, which is under the exclusive control of the Orthodox—and firmly opposed to gay marriage. Since the country has no civil marriage, gay couples seeking to marry within the borders of Israel are out of luck (as are any Jewish Israelis seeking a non-Orthodox marriage ceremony) . . .
Altering the status quo, particularly concerning something as delicate as marriage, is the third rail of Israeli politics. This is not only because of the power and importance of ultra-Orthodox parties in the Israeli political system, but also due to a fear that changing the status quo would lead to the encroachment of secular values upon the religious—and vice-versa. Among Israel’s many political parties, only Meretz—a left-wing, social democratic faction—proposes to upend the status quo entirely by separating religion from state and legalising civil marriage . . .
But these proposals will almost certainly fail. Under the terms of the current coalition agreement, Jewish Home—a right-wing, religious Zionist party—not only controls the Ministry of Religious Services but insisted on a clause that mandates that all governing parties must be in agreement when it comes to changing the balance between religion and state. And Jewish Home’s position on the matter is clear: “There’s not a chance we’ll allow civil unions for gay couples,” a senior party official told Ha’aretz.
We could set up a similar sort of system that there is in Israel here in the various U.S. States.
The Slate article is also incorrect about the people who are married in the Netherlands; their marriage is recorded by the Israeli Administration for Immigration for statistical purposes only. The marriage conducted in the Netherlands is not officially recognized by the State of Israel, according to the Wikipedia article about this topic.