Knesset Passes IDF Widows' Law

The Knesset has passed a law ensuring that IDF widows will not lose their husbands' pensions if they later choose to remarry.

Chezki Ezra and Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 17:10

IDF soldiers in Gaza (archive)
IDF soldiers in Gaza (archive)
Israel news photo: IDF Spokesman's Unit

The Knesset passed into law on its second and third readings a measure that ensures that widows of IDF soldiers who died in battle will not lose their husbands' pensions if they later choose to remarry.

The law was approved unanimously by all 84 Knesset members, with no abstentions.

Currently, the Defense Ministry halts the monthly stipend to an IDF widow when she marries again, following the death of her soldier husband.

The bill passed after the government expressed its support for amendment of the existing law, despite arguments by several ministers who claimed initially that the law should be passed as a government measure.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the IDF widows at a meeting prior to the vote that he would support the passage of the bill. Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai was also present at the gathering.

"I think it would have been preferable for the government to legislate the measure, although I understand your pain and the suffering that you bear, and the great desire to bring this matter to a close as soon as possible," Barak said. "I therefore intend to support the passage of the bill and to instruct my faction members to support it as well."

Prior to the meeting, the head of the IDF Widows and Orphans' lobby met with Knesset Member Chaim Katz, the head of the Knesset Committee for Labor and Welfare, who also said he would support passage of the bill.

In response to the passage of the bill, Likud MK Danny Danon, head of the lobby for IDF widows and orphans, praised Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Defense Minister, for "correcting the distortion that caused widows to live for years with tremendous additional grief, both personally, and socially.

"This law will provide a feeling of security to soldiers who go to battle, that the state will take care of their families that remain behind at home," Danon added.