Gay Pride flags 370.
(photo credit:Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid went on a collision course over issues of religion
and state once again this week, with Economy and Trade Minister Naftali
Bennett’s party announcing it will veto a bill giving equal tax benefits to
heterosexual and same-sex couples with children.
On Sunday night, hours
after the bill proposed by MK Adi Kol (Yesh Atid) was approved by the
Ministerial Committee for Legislation, Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet
Shaked sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, coalition chairman
Yariv Levin, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Finance Minister Yair Lapid and
coalition faction chairmen saying the bill defies the religious status
“This bill is meant to undermine the public discourse about civil
marriage, which must be undertaken seriously,” Shaked said. Shaked quoted Kol’s
Facebook status from Sunday, which said “for the first time, the Israeli
government supports a bill that recognizes the gay family unit,” and that the
bill is “revolutionary.”
“Such changes will have serious ramifications on
Israeli society and the country’s character,” said Shaked. “Therefore, any small
change must be reviewed in-depth and passed through agreements.”
Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman pointed out that coalition agreements state any
party can veto bills pertaining to religion and state, and, as such, she
demanded the legislative process on Kol’s proposal be halted.
party previously spoke out against proposals by Yesh Atid and other parties to
allow civil unions, saying it would veto them on the same grounds if
MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) called the Bayit Yehudi crazy for
vetoing the bill.
“It’s hard to believe that during International Human
Rights Week, in the year 2013, we still need to argue about equality in the
State of Israel,” Elharar stated. “There is no connection between tax benefits
and religion and state. The Bayit Yehudi lost it.”
MK Nitzan Horowitz
(Meretz), the only openly gay lawmaker in the current Knesset, wrote on Facebook
that “the Bayit Yehudi opposes the bill on the grounds that it recognizes gay
couples. At least they’re not hiding it like other people in the coalition. If
you had any doubts about Naftali Bennett and his smile, once again we see his
dark worldview. He sees hundreds of thousands of Israelis as second
The National LGBT Task Force said “with all due respect to the
Bayit Yehudi’s ayatollahs, the Israeli tax system is not connected to religion,
country of origin, gender or sexual orientation, nor does it have anything to do
with the rabbinate or religious services.”
The organization accused the
party of holding the coalition hostage to “backward ideologies and
discrimination,” as if children of heterosexual parents are worth more than
those with homosexual parents.
“We hope that Likud, Yesh Atid and Hatnua
will tell the Bayit Yehudi that Israel is not Iran and they cannot force their
religious beliefs on the Israeli tax system,” the LGBT task force added.
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