MK Shasha-Biton
MK Shasha-BitonFlash 90

MK Yifat Shasha-Biton (Kulanu), who chairs the Knesset's Special Committee for the Rights of the Child, spoke about Israel's policies regarding child support and custody.

Speaking at the annual attorneys' conference in Eilat, Shasha-Biton said, "I am here as a lawmaker, but I don't represent all the lawmakers, and I don't represent all the women in the Knesset. It's really an issue of perspective. It's not just about the legal side, or the economics, it's about the social understandings upon which the issue of child support rests."

"There are also educational issues here... We tried to advance legislation based on the Shiffman Committee, on the Tender Age Clause and child support. I see the issue from a different perspective - the child's perspective, and what is the best for the child. The child deserves for his parents to support him financially, and here we open a Pandora's box.

"The Shiffman Committee's report is very simple: We need a uniform formula, which will be used for everyone. It will be adjusted for every situation. We need something uniform, and that will reduce the amount of discussion and extortion. Shiffman said himself that we cannot disconnect the issue of child support from the issue of custody. In today's reality, I understand that it is very difficult to advance each of these issues separately, much less both of them together.

"This issue wasn't solved in the Knesset, because there are those who think that creating a uniform formula will harm women. And that's also an issue when it comes to the Tender Years Clause. The discussion earlier was that men want to spend more time with their children so that they'll pay less money. And it really doesn't matter, because if you do it for the wrong reasons, and later it's for the right reasons, then that's fine with me."

Shasha-Biton also noted society's "hypocrisy."

"This is hypocrisy, in society and also in the Knesset. It is inconceivable that the Knesset is pushing laws for equal parenting, but when it comes to divorce, equality ends. Suddenly, Dad isn't good enough, he's not as good as he was when they were married," she said.

"And finally we come to the issue of the child's best interests. Here as well, I note that we live in a society which hasn't yet decided what message it wants to give. When people divorce, there are wars and it's unclear what equality means. It's all about how society sees it.

"As a woman, I want to say that I am for women. If I want to raise a generation of girls who are growing up in a more equal society, then we need to start here and now, and legislate laws that offer equality with regards to custody and child support."