MKs Kisch and Mualem
MKs Kisch and MualemFlash 90

The dispute between the Likud and Jewish Home parties was resolved on Monday evening when a compromise was reached between MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) and MK Shuli Mualem (Jewish Home).

The dispute was centered on a bill by Kisch that would lower the Tender Years Clause to two years of age.

Under Israel's present Tender Years Clause, in case of divorce, children stay with the mother until the youngest is at least six years old, at which point the father can petition for shared custody.

Mualem had decided to block the bill from advancing, leading to the Likud announcing that it would block the Jewish Home’s proposed Ariel University Law, which would normalize the status of all Israeli institutions of higher learning located in Judea and Samaria.

At present, schools like Ariel University, Orot College in Elkana, and Herzog College in Gush Etzion are not under the authority of Israel’s Council for Higher Education, and are instead administered by a separate Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria.

On Monday evening, Mualem and Kisch agreed to work to advance both bills. The two agreed that the wording of the Tender Years Law when it is brought up to a vote in its first reading would not include a precise age of a child but rather will say a "toddler," meaning a child between the ages of one and three.

In addition, it was agreed that the law will be brought to a vote for its second and third readings only after consensus has been formed in the coalition.

The Knesset House Committee is expected to discuss both bills on Wednesday.

"Out of responsibility and concern for the benefit of the children, we reached agreements today on the Tender Years Law," said Mualem.

"Parents are the natural guardians of their children, and even when they decide to divorce, they must place the best interests of the child at the top of their interests, as well as the child’s need and their duty to be in constant contact with him. We must not allow the use of children as bargaining chips and it is their parents' obligation to maintain stability in their lives,” she added.

"From this understanding, we are working to produce a law that benefits parents and children. We have taken very large steps in preparing the legislative process for its first reading, and we will continue to act.”

MK Kisch said in the wake of the compromise, "I am excited that we reached agreements for the first reading of my bill to reduce the Tender Years Clause. Since I was elected to the Knesset, I have been fighting for a change in the divorce laws in Israel, first of all for the benefit of the children.”

"I believe that the agreement we reached, at least in the first reading, will inevitably lead to a dramatic change in the legal situation of the divorced parents for the benefit of their children. There is no greater satisfaction as a public official than helping the weakest, even in this case,” he continued.