IllustrationYonatan Sindel/Flash90

The fight over the Tender Years Clause, which gives divorcing mothers automatic custody over children under six years old, grew more vocal and bitter than ever Wednesday after Coalition Chairman David Bitan (Likud) announced that he intends to ignore the government’s decision to support a bill that would cancel the clause.

Activists who support the cancellation of the clause have directed their anger at MK Bitan and at MK Shuli Moallem (Jewish Home), who spoke out against the bill at a stormy meeting of the Coalition Management Committee.

Bitan demanded that MK Yoav Kish (Likud), who sponsored the bill with MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) and other MKs, accept a compromise in which the age of children to whom the Tender Years Clause applies will be lowered to 2.5 from six. Otherwise, he said, the Coalition Management Committee would oppose the bill

Kish refused, and announced that he was removing the bill from the plenum’s daily agenda, and that MK Bitan’s announcement is unacceptable.

“I am not giving up,” he wrote on Facebook. “I removed the bill from the schedule and I will make sure that the Coalition Management reconvenes and cancels its previous, wrong decision.”

Kish uploaded a photo of a document calling for a new discussion of the vote in the Coalition Management Committee, signed by three faction leaders.

“It is too bad that my faction chairman, who is supposed to represent me in this forum and fight for the interests of his faction, intervened regarding a bill although he has no knowledge about it or its repercussions, and made a mistaken and especially problematic decision, while misleading the other faction heads and contrary to the agreements that I reached with him only yesterday,” he wrote. “this is not an open-air market. The age is very important here. This is not a market stand and I will not let our children be treated like merchandise.”