TEL AVIV (Oct. 17)
The leadership of the independent Liberal Party is preparing to demand a showdown vote in the Knesset on the private members bill submitted by Gideon Hausner which would provide civil marriages for persona banned by the Chief Rabbinate from marrying on grounds of halacha. The ILP is said to be prepared to quit the coalition Cabinet prior to a vote in light of Premier Golda Meir’s warning that they would be ousted if they pressed for the Hausner measure which the government opposes for political reasons.
ILP circles indicated today that the election of Rabbi Shlomo Goren as Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel has no bearing on their support for the limited civil marriages bill. Although Rabbi Goren. regarded as liberal compared to his predecessor, has promised to find fair solutions to problems of marriage and divorce within the limits of halacha, the ILP notes that he has always stressed that he does not intend to deviate one iota from halacha.
The ILP leadership is waiting for Dr. Hausner’s return from abroad before making a final decision on their course of action. Meanwhile, they are contacting Mapam circles to make sure that Mapam’s stated support for the Hausner bill still stands. Mrs. Meir has warned that if Map-am leaves the government on the issue, her Cabinet would have to be dissolved and general elections held a year ahead of schedule.