JERUSALEM (Jun. 23)
The Knesset today once more defeated a bill that would have instituted civil marriage in Israel for persons disqualified to marry under religious law. The 51-18 vote against the measure drafted by Minister-Without-Portfolio Gideon Hausner of the Independent Liberal Party was, in fact, a vote to preserve the status quo under which Israel’s Orthodox religious establishment is given blanket authority over marriage, divorce and other personal matters.
Justice Minister-Haim Zadok told the Knesset as much when he declared that the present government, like its predecessors, had no intention of altering the understandings on which the coalition with the National Religious Party is based. “Coalition agreements must be preserved. This is part of public life.” Zadok said.
ILP MK Yehuda Shaari, who introduced the Hausner bill, said it did not represent a break with the status quo but rather a solution of serious personal problems “for those people who under the present situation were disqualified to marry.” He said a solution has not been found until now “because the political establishment proved immobile for so many years.” The bill, was voted down by a majority of the Labor Alignment, the religious factions and part of Likud. It was supported by the ILP, Mapam, some members of Likud’s Liberal Party wing, Moked and the Communist parties.