The Rabbis of the National-Union Tekuma Party, which is currently in negotiations over a permanent merger with Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi) party, have issued a letter urging MKs from their movement to vote against a bill giving national-religious group Tzohar more influence in the Rabbinate slated to be decided today (Monday).
Under the bill, couples would be able to choose any Rabbi to marry them regardless of where they live, in contrast to the current regulations dictating that they register only through the local municipal Rabbinate.
In the letter, the Rabbis state, "to our puzzlement, we learned that a new bill is going to be proposed in the Knesset which would change current laws about marriage and divorce, and replace them with other laws, called 'the Tzohar bill'."
"In a meeting we held this evening (Sunday), we have determined that the position of Tekuma is to oppose the passing of the bill in the Knesset," but they also add that they "have not yet clarified this in in-depth discussion with the Rabbis."
The position is a risky move, standing in opposition to the Jewish Home party, with whom they are currently in talks of a merger. In an apparent bid to temper this, they end the letter with an assertion praising the decision "by Bennett's Jewish Home party in not supporting the release of terrorist prisoners."
The Tekuma Party currently holds four seats in the Knesset within the framework of the Bayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home), belonging to Uri Ariel, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Orit Struk, and Zevulun Kalfa.