Israel has granted unregistered cohabitation for same-sex couples since 1994, in the form of common-law marriage, a status that until then was only extended to opposite-sex couples.
Following lawsuits, same-sex couples enjoy several spousal benefits (1994–1996) and the right of same-sex partners of civil service employees to survivor benefits (1998).
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The National Insurance (Ha-Mossad le-Bitauach Leumi) Institute recognizes officially co-habitations granting all rights of pension Pension, survivors and widows rights of the same sex partner of the deceased are recognized (2000), non-biological parents can register guardianship of their partner's child (2001); a January, 2005 supreme court ruling has made it possible for a partner to legally adopt a same-sex partner's biological child.
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said the couples will be treated the same as common-law spouses, recognizing them as legal units for tax, real estate, and financial purposes.
Mazuz made his decision by refusing to appeal a district court ruling in an inheritance case that recognized the legality of a same-sex union, his office said in a statement.
Same-sex wedding ceremonies without legal significance can be conducted in Israel, which, coupled with legally recognized foreign marriages, allows for both same-sex wedding ceremonies in Israel and legal recognition of same-sex marriages in Israel, on condition that the marriage certificates come from another country.
The first unofficial municipal wedding took place in August 2009 following the Tel Aviv Pride Parade; five couples were married by Mayor Ron Huldai.Mazuz did differentiate, however, between recognizing same-sex unions for financial and practical purposes, as he did, and changing the law to officially sanction the unions, which would be a matter for parliament, according to the statement.