Divorce (illustration)
Divorce (illustration)Thinkstock

The Knesset has passed a law amending the One-Parent Family law of 1992, so that the term “one-parent family” is replaced by the term “family headed by an independent parent.”

The term “sole parent” has been replaced with “independent parent.”

The bill was proposed by MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua). According to the bill's explanatory notes, “a one-parent family in its current definition includes a parent who is divorced, widowed, or unmarried. But a divorced or separated parent with custody of a child cannot be classified as a 'one-parent family,' since the child has two parents who are known, recognized and most importantly, alive. Once the mother is defined as a 'sole parent,' the father is, metaphorically, dead.”

The legislator added: "This definition skews reality and, in effect, renders the parenthood of the other parent – usually the father – null and void, in perception (because definition creates reality) and in practice, not just in the eyes of the mother and child, but in the eyes of society in its entirety.”

MK Sheetrit explained that the illusion that the non-custodial parent does not exist could encourage custodial parents "to ignore the letter of the law, which sees both parents as having legal custody over their children.” Frequent complaints by non-custodial parents are that the custodial parents do not respect court rulings regarding their right to spend time with their children, and that they alienate the children from them.

The Chair of the Committee for Advancement of the Status of Women and Gender Equality, MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), noted Tuesday that the committee has examined the matter and found that the proposed change is “only semantic, and does not harm the rights granted to these families by law.”

She added that the amendment's main purpose is “to affect legal and public discourse, in order to strengthen the perception, that even in cases of separation between partners, their child has two parents, who want his benefit and contribute to his growth and development.”

The Israel Women's Network, a flagship organization of the New Israel Fund, was involved in the legislation of the One-Parent Families Law in 1992. Meretz MK Naomi Chazan, who initiated the establishment of the Knesset's Committee for Advancement of the Status of Women in 1992, is a key figure in the NIF and served as its president for many years. She co-headed the Knesset's “one-parent family lobby” for about a decade. 

Critics of the One-Parent Families law say that it encourages women to give birth out of wedlock, and provides incentives for frivolous divorce.

The ultra-leftist Chazan says that women are "more progressive" than men, according to a recent report.