'This is what you'll get with Labor'

Rabbi Haim Navon warns against voting for Labor party, says children are safest growing up with their biological parents.

Chana Roberts ,

Rabbi Haim Navon
Rabbi Haim Navon
Nissim Lev

Well-known Religious Zionist rabbi in the town of Modi'in and popular columnist and lecturer Rabbi Haim Navon responded to leftist MK Merav Michaeli's (Zionist Union) claim that the core family is "the most dangerous place" for children.

Responding to Michaeli on Facebook, Rabbi Navon wrote that her claim of the core family being the most dangerous place for children is a "complete lie."

"Countless studies around the world prove that the safest place for children to grow up with with their biological father and mother," he said, warning that "anyone who votes for the Labor party should know that this is the future they are choosing for their children."

Michaeli - who has no children of her own - presented an alternative plan to marriage and child-raising.

Speaking on Australia's ABC "Q&A" show in September, Michaeli said that "the core family as we know it is the least safe place for children...not in Australia, in the western world, and in more traditional societies even more so," Michaeli claimed. "The data speaks about every fifth child that goes through some kind of abuse - sexual, physical, emotional - and the core family is the place which exactly those parental rights that you are talking about."

"The custody, this total custody in this structure of marriage which still gives men domination, complete domination, over their children and too often over their women, who are called 'wives,' is a part of the really ongoing hurt in children.

"So I do want to put the discussion on parental rights in perspective and in context, and in context of what are the values of this core family that you are protecting so much?"

When one of the other participants responded that even though some families certainly unsafe, the family is not inherently unsafe for raising children, Michaeli responded that apparently, he was not up-to-date on the statistics for domestic violence.

Though Michaeli has previously pushed to abolish marriage altogether, she says she is "all for love."

However, she qualified, love does not necessarily have to do with who you decide to make a child or raise that child with, and the idea that it does is "one of the things that we need to stop breaking apart."

"A child can have two parents," Michaeli explained, stating that "they don't have necessarily to be his biological parents, or her biological parents."

Instead, "the person who takes responsibility for the child needs to be obligated for [sic] certain criteria that the state should actually decide on....and it has to concern a lot of freedom for the child to be who she or he is."

When asked if she wants the state to decide this, Michaeli backtracked and said "What do you mean 'the state?' It's us, coming together in a democracy...we all together decide what it means to be a good parent."

Michaeli, however, is interested in improving child welfare as well, but with a certain amount of coercion, and is currently advancing a law which would in the first stage provide free daycare for all children over the age of three months, and at a later stage turn the free daycare mandatory. In her opinion, "children are the future of society and the State, not a private issue."

In 2011, the Israeli government agreed to provide free education for children aged 3 years and over. The law passed with a clause that the free education would become mandatory within six years. Though daycare for children ages 3-4 became mandatory in September 2015, not all municipalities enforce the law. Michaeli's new law proposes to change this, removing all parental freedom in the matter.

In a 2010 report to Congress, statistics showed that children are most likely to be abused if they are living with a single parent who has a cohabiting partner, and abuse rates were increasing for children living with only one of their parents, but decreasing among children living with two parents.

In 2013, one expert said that women are just as likely as men to be abusers, and a second expert backed him up in March, saying the statistics on female abusers have been known for fifty years. One booklet published by Alberta's Human Services stated that between 1999 and 2004, "more than half a million men in Canada had a partner who was violent toward them." A 2005 research found that abuse in intimate relationships was as likely to be perpetrated by a woman as by a man.

In 2014, University of California Clinical Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Jane Anderson published a research which concluded that "it is the responsibility of physicians—especially pediatricians, who care for children in the context of their families—to advocate for public health policies that promote marriage and decrease the likelihood of divorce."

The US Department of Health and Human Services published a report stating that "in 2015, parents—acting alone or with another parent—were responsible for 77.7 percent of child abuse or neglect fatalities."

"More than one-quarter (26.7 percent) of fatalities were perpetrated by the mother acting alone, 14.7 percent were perpetrated by the father acting alone, and 22.3 percent were perpetrated by the mother and father acting together.

"Nonparents (including kin and child care providers, among others) were responsible for 18.7 percent of child fatalities, and child fatalities with unknown perpetrator relationship data accounted for 3.6 percent of the total."

Watch the full debate here (Michaeli speaks from minute 12:48 to minute 20:08):