The far-left Meretz party kicked its campaign into gear this week with a “wedding ceremony” conducted by an MK for three couples. MK Nitzan Horowitz “married” two women, two men, and a man and woman in a ceremony outside the Rabbinate in Tel Aviv. This is not the first time the party has performed "weddings", publicly casting aspersion on Israeli law.
Israel does not recognize marriage ceremonies for homosexual couples or other couples forbidden to marry under Jewish law, but does recognize marriages performed abroad, including same-sex marriages.
Horowitz indicated that the ceremony, which will not be recognized, was a response to comments from Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, who is in fourth place on the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) list and was formerly in charge of the rabbinic courts. Rabbi Ben-Dahan said that same-sex marriage is “a recipe for the destruction of the Jewish people.”
Horowitz accused him of “spreading hate and evil.”
Meretz also plans another front in its campaign against the influence of Jewish tradition in Israeli life with the resumption of Sabbath busing. The party has often provided Sabbath revelers with free busing in the past as a statement.
This Friday night the party plans to send “Meretz’s Sabbath Buses” to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Sharon region in protest of the fact that most Israeli cities do not offer public transportation on the Sabbath.
Meretz argues that not providing subsidized public transportation is a form of religious coercion. “Nobody forces the hareidim to drive on the Sabbath, why do the hareidim prevent my freedom of movement?” MK Horowitz said.
Public transportation is limited on the Sabbath under religious-secular status-quo agreements, in which, decades ago, the government agreed to maintain existing practice regarding respect for Jewish tradition but not to institute new forms of public Jewish observance. Public buses on Shabbat would discriminate against religious bus-drivers, who might find it harder to be hired by bus companies.
Previous Meretz busing initiatives have failed to spark significant interest.