- Title: WEST BANK: Mass weddings lower the cost of getting married in Hebron
- Date: 22nd July 2010
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF MARRIAGE COMMITTEE, MUHAMMAD JABARI, SAYING: "In this way we can stop the marriage to foreigners. In Palestine, we suffer from occupation, and the occupation (Israeli authorities) is easing the issuing of permits to foreigners, so many are getting married to foreigners. So one way in which we are trying to solve the phenomenon is by decreasing wedding costs."
- Embargoed: 6th August 2010 13:00
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVAA0WEDEPR5K82VL3A4TTHVMLVN
- Story Text: Six grooms bearing the same family name saved money by getting married in a multiple wedding ceremony recently in the West Bank city of Hebron.
In accordance with local traditions, men and women were separated at the Ashour family wedding festivities.
Farouq Ashour, a multiple wedding organiser who, on this occasion, organized a wedding for six grooms from his own extended family, said a committee had been set up in Hebron for the purpose of promoting the practice after inspiration came from a young man in financial difficulties who wanted to get married.
"The idea came from a young man who could not get married due to the costs of the marriage. He said: 'Let's organize a mass wedding which decreases the costs. So we started to organize mass weddings," Ashour explained.
Head of the Hebron marriage committee, Muhammad Jabari, said reducing the cost of weddings can dent a trend for Palestinians to marry foreigners as a way of gaining travel permits out of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory.
"In this way we could stop the marriage to foreigners. In Palestine, we suffer from occupation, and the occupation is easing the permits for the foreigners, so many are getting married to foreigners. So we are trying to treat all the phenomena through one phenomenon which is decreasing the marriage costs," for men marrying local women, Jabari said.
Israeli restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of the Palestinian territories means Palestinians from the West Bank can only travel out of the territory with an Israeli-issued permit, which is often denied.
One of the grooms, Fahed Ashour, said that he had saved half of the cost of a wedding through getting married at the same time as other grooms.
"Thank God, we did not pay a lot. What we paid is very slight if we compare it to most weddings in Hebron," he said.
Gold jewellery plays an important part in weddings. The groom typically buys gold for his bride as part of the dowry.
But with the rise in gold prices, the gold shops are unusually empty during this summer's traditional wedding season.
High gold prices have weighed heavily on jewellery demand this year in many major jewellery consuming regions such as the Middle East and India.
Omar Hroub, owner of a gold jewellery shop in Hebron, said profits have declined drastically as consumers cut down their spending on gold.
"In general there is an economic recession parallel with the high cost of living in the world. It is really hard, the trader is losing a lot from the income. The profits are only 20 percent compared to years ago," Hroub said.
Local jewellery shops have quickly adapted to the situation, introducing cheaper 14-karat jewellery as an alternative to the more common 21-karat gold.
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