Equal rights to couples who cannot be married by the rabbinate, choosing religious services regardless of place of residence and securing a position for women on the committee that elects city rabbis – these are some of the bills promoted by the Justice Ministry these days, all designed to facilitate the ties between individuals and the religious establishment.
As published Tuesday morning by Yedioth Ahronoth, Minister Tzipi Livni
has taken under her wing some of these bills, initiated by fellow Hatnua
party member Knesset Member Elazar Stern. The bills were formulated with the knowledge of senior Habayit Hayehudi
The first law would allow any person to receive religious services across the country, and not be bound to the rabbinate of the city in which he or she reside. Religious services on marriage, conversion and kashrut are provided today in different ways from one city to another, and the bill is meant to create fair competition in the field. Couples would be free to choose the rabbi that best fits their worldview.
Every municipal rabbi, local council rabbi and regional council rabbi would be entitled to establish a conversion courthouse in their local area of authority, and the procedure would be considered as conversion to Judaism, without need for further approval. Restaurant owners would be able to be provided with kosher certificates by any city rabbi, regardless of where the business is located.
Livni at opening of Knesset's winter session (Photo: Gil Yohanan) Livni is promoting another bill that requires all couples to sign a prenuptial agreement ("mutual trust agreement") designed to minimize chances for refused divorces. The agreement, which became a binding law in France, would require couples various commitments such as couples' therapy, appearance in court for divorce hearings and an obligation to pay a large sum for every day the a divorce is delayed or denied.
Couples living together without being married or that cannot be married, would be given a solution in the form of "joint life law", and would be given equal rights. The bill will be promoted together with Yesh Atid
party and would allow those who cannot be married and same-sex couples to enjoy privileges that were not accessible to them in the past. The separation of such couples would be carried out in family courts.
As the Knesset's winter session opened Monday, Minister Yair Lapid
told Yesh Atid party members that he will fight for homosexuals to be allowed to marry. He announced that during the upcoming winter session, he will submit the civil union bill, which would allow same-sex couples "to commemorate their love."
The Justice Ministry is seeking to lead a more equal representation for women on the election committee and assembly that elects municipal rabbis. According to the bill, at least 40% of assembly members will be women, and at least one member of the elections committee will be a woman.
"We are working towards fighting the corruption within the religious services and connect the rabbinate with the people, in order to sustain the State of Israel
as Jewish and democratic," said MK Stern on Monday.
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