After years of what National Union MK Uri Ariel described as "injustice," the Knesset passed legislation Monday night that would ensure that IDF widows who remarry remain entitled to their widow's benefits.
The Knesset passed the bill unanimously, with 85 MKs voting in favor and nobody opposing the law, which was cosponsored by MKs Yoel Hasson (Kadima) and Eitan Cabel (Labor).
The law passed its second and third reading despite initial opposition from the government, which was later withdrawn.
"In the course of the past year I received a number of phone calls from IDF widows who asked whether they should get married or wait until the law passed," said Ariel, after the law passed. "I cried and told them that I will do everything I can do so that the law passes."
The new law amends a law passed in 1950, under which widows of soldiers who had been killed would stop receiving any compensation from the country if they remarried.
Ariel and the bill's other sponsors complained that as a result of that law, widows had been forced to live in common-law relationships to avoid losing their subsidies.
"Almost half of IDF widows live with a common-law partner, while others try not to get married or record their marriage with the rabbinate so as not to lose their rights. A large number of these feel that they are living a lie," said Ariel.
"We must remember that the law has almost no financial implications, because widows living with common-law partners also continue to receive payments," he said.
Ariel argued that "the money paid to widows is not simply compensation for the income that they lose when their spouses are killed, but also to help the bereaved family regain its legs independently. The new spouse is not an alternative income - he is an emotional deliverer, in a way that relieves the burden placed on the state to provide social and psychological care for the widow. Taking away the compensation from widows who are remarried hurts them emotionally and practically."