Earlier this week, the Knesset passed in a preliminary reading a bill proposed by Yesh Atid MK Adi Kol which calls for equal tax benefits for same-sex couples. While Yesh Atid supports the bill, Habayit Hayehudi was reluctant to throw its support behind any bill that would legally change the definition of marriage.
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The reported compromise between respective party chairmen Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) was that the latter would allow the bill to pass a preliminary reading only to have it get buried in committee later on.
Lapid could then promise same-sex benefits through secondary legislation and amendments – thus leaving the legal definition of marriage in tact while granting the couples' their rights.
In a memo published on the Israel Tax Authority's website Monday, accountant Miri Savion, a deputy director general for assessment and overview, instructed authority employees to give homosexual couples equal benefits – despite the fact that the bill has not been passed.
MK Adi Kol commented on the move and said "it will allow same-sex couples to enjoy the benefits while legislation is still in process. I am happy the ITA has internalized the fact that same-sex couples are legitimate families."
An ITA source told Ynet that the directive was sent out today, but in reality the ITA has granted same-sex couples such rights for some time now. The source also stressed that the directive does not replace or render the bill obsolete.
Avital Lahav contributed to this report