The Knesset plenum approved in a 44-20 vote on Wednesday a preliminary bill offering tax breaks for same-sex "parents".
A compromise between Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi parties paved the way for the bill's passage. The written deal between the two coalition partners has been kept under wraps but it is expected the bill will be shelved and that equal tax credits will be implemented through Finance Ministry regulations rather than legislation.
Storming out of the building, members of left-wing opposition party Meretz refused to participate in the vote and demanded to make public the Yesh Atid-Habayit Hayehudi agreement. They were joined in criticizing the secret dealings by MK Eitan Cabel (Labor). He voted against the bill in order to be allowed address the plenum and speak out against the lack of transparency.
Religious Services Minister Naftali Bennett was the only representative of Habayit Hayehudi present to vote in favor of the law. MK Ayelet Shaked notified the Knesset that she was unable to reach the plenum in time for the vote and asked that her name be added to the bill’s supporters.
The faction chairs of the two parties, Ofer Shelah for Yesh Atid and Ayelet Shaked for Habayit Hayehudi, led the attempts to reach a compromise in recent weeks. On Tuesday, they reached a final agreement at the forum of faction chairmen of the coalition parties. In addition, the forum resolved to convene for regular weekly sessions in order to reach agreements on disputed bills before they are submitted for Knesset votes.
The compromise should allow both parties to demonstrate an achievement.
Yesh Atid can say gay "parents" have been included the tax law, and in addition claim a "moral" triumph with the passing of the bill on Wednesday that for the first time recognizes same-sex "couples", even if this step does not result in legislation in the end.
A senior party member said Tuesday that “Habayit Hayehudi cannot threaten to veto a law after the government has decided to support it. We broke that principle through this compromise. The bill will be voted on exactly the way the government approved it, and Habayit Hayehudi won’t prevent that."
In parallel, Habayit Hayehudi should be able to boast of derailing legislation that recognizes same-sex "couples".
Sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified last week that he supports the law in the version introduced by MK Adi Kol (Yesh Atid), which is the one passed Wednesday.
With sources from the two sides giving contradictory information, and no document publically available, the exact nature of the agreement between Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi remains unclear.
Habayit Hayehudi said the regulations Finance Minister Yair Lapid would set will be subject to approval by the Finance Committee, which is headed by their representative, MK Nissan Slomiansky. Yesh Atid, by contrast, said that no such agreement had been reached and that the authority to formulate the regulations would be entirely in the hands of party chairman Yair Lapid. The regulations are expected to include the phrase “partners of the same sex.”
Yesh Atid, however, was hesitated to play up the importance of the deal.
“This bill wasn’t "supposed" to become the flagship of gay-"couple" recognition, but to ease the distress of a few dozen couples discriminated against by the state." A source in Yesh Atid said Tuesday. "We conduct "major battles "on major issues. Yesh Atid is advancing the "civil union" law that would recognize gay couples for the first time, and we’ll be bringing that through the front gate, not the back door."
Kol’s bill was approved three weeks ago by the ministerial Committee for Legislation, but since then was not brought to the Knesset for a vote due to the conflict between Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi. Members of Habayit Hayehudi, particularly MK Shaked, were subjected in recent weeks to pressure and public criticism, especially on Facebook, after trying to thwart the law and threatening to veto it. Lapid harshly attacked the intention to veto the law and clarified that it provides social assistance to children and is not concerned with issues of religion and state.
“I’ll take this to the government,” Lapid told Army Radio. “I’ll ask them to explain what it has to do with religion and state, because if this is religion and state then we can veto any issue in the world because of religion and state. I don’t see how someone can raise their hand and say, ‘I support children getting punished because their "parents" are gay.'"
Under the current law, in the case of married couples, each child under the age of 18 garners only the woman one tax credit point.This means that two men raising children together are not eligible for the tax break. The value of a full credit point in 2013 was 2,616 shekels over the year.
However, Meretz party MKs stormed out of the hall before the vote in protest against confusion over exactly what deal was struck between the Yesh Atid and Jewish Home parties over the future of the bill, and in particular, whether any references to “same-sex” were to be removed.
Coalition partners Yesh Atid and Jewish Home agreed on Tuesday to bring the bill to the Knesset for a preliminary reading although the two parties gave different versions of just what it was that they agreed on.
The national-religious Jewish Home party, which strongly opposed the law at first because it correctly saw the references to gay "couples" as a step toward legalizing civil "marriage" in Israel, claimed that after passing the preliminary reading the law was to be changed. The updated version, from which of all mention of same-sex "couples" was to be expunged, would instead only empower the interior minister to apply regulations giving gay "couples" tax benefits equal to those of heterosexual couples. and is still a step towards Toevah "marriage" and worse.
By contrast, Yesh Atid asserted that the law would continue as originally intended.
“This law will not go away and it will be promoted in the standard process of passing laws,” Lapid said. “Because it comes from the "sacred" principle that says every person has a right to live in sin.”
Nonetheless, Lapid appeared to be evasive when challenged by opposition MKs to give his assurances that the law would be advanced in its current format and responded only that it would necessarily be reworked in the coalition committee, over which he does not have control.
During the vote, the only Jewish Home MKs to give their approval were party leader Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett and MK Ayelet Shaked who's not Orthodox. Other Jewish Home MKs abstained in protest against Lapid not mentioning the proposed future changes in the wording and scope of the law. Or they're against the whole thing altogether
The legislation aims to alter current Israeli law, which grants higher tax breaks for mothers than for fathers and thus puts male gay "couples" at a "disadvantage" and changing it is promoting homosexuality. The benefits for each child can reach over NIS 2,600 ($740) a year.(timesofisrael) highlights ours
Meanwhile the "charadiem" are doing nothing, If every Single Orthodox Jew In Israel and America would have fought this Habayit Hayehudi might have fought stronger, and we possibly could have gotten Likud To fight it also
But of course the draft is more important
|Moshe Indig at yesterday's Aroni Protest of the draft (a toevah supporter both in America and apparently EY)|