Daily Israel Report

Bill Letting Non-Jews Adopt Jewish Children Slammed

Torah institute forum criticizes Yesh Atid MK for bill changing adoption law, proposes change only for those without registered religion.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/10/2014, 1:42 PM

MK Adi Kol
MK Adi Kol
Flash 90

The Hotam Torah Organization's Forum has condemned a bill proposed by MK Adi Kol (Yesh Atid), which seeks to change the adoption laws in such a way that Jewish children would be at risk of being adopted by non-Jewish adoptive parents.

According to the current law, a child can only be adopted by parents of the same religion.

"Kol is trying to cancel this demand and allow judges to approve an adoption without any religious identity," Hotem assessed Monday, noting the religious law forbids "giving a parentless Jewish child to foreign hands."

Hotam remarked "in every issue of adoption the 'good of the child' is the main goal. Without a doubt, the good of the child is to be adopted by a Jewish family, and there are plenty of those."

The organization noted that "in the past, a Jewish couple could only adopt a child from abroad if the religion of the adopted child was the same as theirs, or after the child went through conversion to Judaism."

Hotam makes it clear the process is not forced, stating "whoever doesn't want it, remains with a child who isn't registered as Jewish. The requirement of Jewish identity is meant, among other things, to prevent Jewish children being given to a Muslim family for example, and the reverse."

Aside from Jewish legal rulings forbidding sending a Jewish child to non-Jewish adoptive parents, Hotam notes the new bill constitutes a "treason" against the child's identity as part of the Jewish nation.

Alternate proposal - have the bill only apply to those without a registered religion

At the same time, the group recognizes that Kol's bill was meant to provide an answer for adoptive families and adopted children who are not registered under any religion.

In Israel, there are over a quarter million citizens who are not registered as belonging to any religion, causing a legal entanglement in terms of adoption. Hotam suggested rephrasing the law so that it only applies to those who are not registered under any religion, and not by 'throwing out the baby with the bathwater' by allowing Jewish children to be adopted out of the Jewish people.

Kol has introduced controversial bills in the past. Aside from trying to legislate civil marriage in Israel, she also initiated a bill to give same-sex couples equal tax breaks.

Initially Jewish Home opposed the bill, but eventually compromised by not having the bill give same-sex couples official recognition, thereby sparing the party from being perceived as officially supporting gay marriage.

Jewish Home, as well as Likud Beytenu, drew criticism for failing to vote against the bill, which passed; Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett voted for the bill while the rest of Jewish Home abstained.