MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Firebrand United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni denounced Knesset Constitution, Law
and Justice Committee chairman MK David Rotem as “anti-religious” on Monday and
said that the committee would be “the trash can of Judaism.”
during a committee hearing that debated the so-called Tzohar-bill for the removal
of geographic restrictions on marriage registration.
There was also
further deliberation over a bill related to reserving four spots for women on
the committee for appointing rabbinical judges.
“The Messiah will see
what you’re doing here in this committee and he won’t come,” Gafni told Rotem of
Yisrael Beytenu. This committee will be the trash can of Judaism,” he
pronounced, saying that Rotem had always been “anti-religious.”
MKs oppose the two bills under discussion for several reasons.
parties claim that the proposed changes to the marriage registration bureaucracy
will reduce the need to rely on the state rabbinate. They will lead to a
situation in which ultra-Orthodox communities will no longer rely on the
rabbinate marriage system, thereby splitting Orthodox Jewry in Israel into
Haredi MKs also oppose the bill reserving seats for women
on the rabbinical judges’ appointments committee. They fear the legislation will
lead to the appointment of more liberal-minded judges who might be inclined to a
tempered interpretation of Jewish law, especially with regard to matters of
marriage and divorce.
During Monday’s hearing, the Constitution Law and
Justice Committee agreed to implement the “continuity provision” for the Tzohar
bill, which began legislation during the last Knesset but was stalled by the
general election in January.
The continuity provision allows a bill held
up in this way to continue along the legislative process from where it left off,
providing it had passed its first reading in the Knesset plenum – which the
Tzohar bill has – and as long as one of the original proponents of the bill is
still an MK – as is Faina Kirshenbaum of Yisrael Beytenu, who first proposed the
The Tzohar bill would abolish the current geographic
restrictions for marriage registration, whereby a couple can only register for
marriage in the city of residence of one of the spouses.
The idea behind
the bill is to allow freedom of choice for couples in choosing where to embark
on what is the bureaucratic, and frequently troublesome marriage registration
It is also hoped that by stimulating competition between local
religious councils and rabbinates for the NIS 600 registration fee of those
eager to wed, those entities will be forced to improve their registration