Daily Israel Report

Vote on Same-Sex Bill 'to be Postponed'

Prime Minister's confidants threaten that they could replace Yesh Atid with hareidi parties.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/18/2013, 9:15 AM

Netanyahu with Lapid
Netanyahu with Lapid
Flash 90

Yesh Atid is turning up the heat in its fight for liberal values. The secularist party insisted on bringing to a vote its bill granting same-sex parents a tax break enjoyed by normative married parents, and recognizing them as a married family at the same time. It appeared by the later morning hours, however, that agreement had been reached to postpone the vote by a week, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attempts to find common ground between liberals and conservatives on the issue. 

Yesh Atid had decided to bring the matter to a vote despite the fact that no agreement has been reached on the matter with its two large coalition partners, Likud-Beytenu and Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi). The bill would not have passed, but its rejection would have made the coalition crisis more severe.

Likud-Beytenu and Jewish Home threatened, in response, to vote in favor of a bill presented by MK Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism), requiring a special majority of 80 MKs for any diplomatic negotiations on the future of Jerusalem. The bill, which is meant to make it more difficult for any government to negotiate away Jerusalem, is opposed by Yesh Atid.

This threat appears to have been removed following Netanyahu's intervention, and the Jerusalem bill is therefore not expected to pass.

Sources close to Netanyahu have been quoted as saying that Lapid's “rebellious” behavior could cause his party to be ejected from the Coalition and replaced by hareidi parties.

Minister for Senior Citizens, Uri Orbach (Jewish Home), accused Yesh Atid on Tuesday of going overboard with a wave of liberal legislation. “The members of Yesh Atid are currently in a liberal ecstasy of religion-and-state laws, mostly as pertains to recognition of, and the rights of, same-sex couples,” wrote Orbach in an email to supporters. 

“Financial rights can be accorded to the individual, regardless of his sexual orientation, but we will not agree to a recognition of same-sex couples as a family.”

The Jewish Home recently blocked, at the last minute, an attempt by Yesh Atid to pass the bill recognizing same-sex couples, explaining that it would agree to the tax break, but not to the recognition. This was met by a blistering personal attack on the Jewish Home's MK Ayelet Shaked, who presented Jewish Home's position in the Knesset. Another reason for the onslaught appears to be the fact that Shaked is a secular woman and thus seen as betraying the liberal agenda.