Cracks in the Coalition? The Tzohar bill, which proposes mitigating amendments to the Marriage Law, passed its preliminary Knesset reading on Wednesday, despite fierce objections by the religious parties.
The vote was carried 57 to 15, with Shas
and United Torah Judaism
voting against the legislation, which proposes allowing couples the freedom to choose which Rabbinate office to get married through.
The current law "affiliates" couples with Rabbinate offices according to their place of residence.
The bill, presented by MK Faina Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu),
caused tension in the coalition, as its religious partners were adamantly against it.
Coalition sources told Ynet that Shas' objection to the move stemmed from the party's fear that some Rabbinate offices – especially those known to be "stricter" – will lose a significant part of their revenue base due to couples' "migration."
"This was an unthinkable proposal," Minister of Religious Affairs Yaakov Margi (Shas) said. "If anyone should have brought this bill up it should have been me. Someone who doesn’t know much about the (religious) issue of marriage has no business dealing with the subjects."
MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) also slammed the bill, saying that while Kirshenbaum was "an excellent MK, this bill disrupts the principles of democracy. It will bring about the collapse of the religious councils. How are we supposed to stay in the Coalition?"
Kirshenbaum herself welcomed the vote, saying it will revolutionize the marriage system in Israel.