Siblings
SiblingsiStock

The Knesset plenum on Wednesday approved in a preliminary reading a bill which would ensure that siblings remain together when placed for adoption.

The bill was initiated by MK Pnina Tamano-Shata (National Unity) and a group of other MKs. The bill passed with 33 MKs voting in support and none abstaining or opposing. It now goes to the Knesset's Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee.

The bill proposes to set in law protection of the connection between siblings during the process of adoption, by means of forbidding biological siblings to be separated during the adoption process.

It follows the court's hearing of opinions from a variety of sources, including adoptees, their family members, adoptive families, a social worker who accompanies the adoption process, and a psychologist or psychiatrist appointed by the court.

Though the bill intends to do good for children, it is not clear what its effect will be in practice. Already in Israel, it is difficult to find loving homes for children over age 2, or for children who have special needs. In practice, children who are removed from their biological home over age eight or ten are placed in dormitories run by the Welfare Ministry, and have almost no chance of being adopted.

At the same time, younger siblings, especially infants and toddlers, are seen as prime candidates for adoption and much of the time are able to find loving homes. Currently, sibling sets comprised solely of young healthy children still face increased challenges in finding a permanent placement, though they are sometimes successful.

It is therefore not clear whether the proposed bill will increase the older children's likelihood of finding permanent homes, or decrease the younger children's chances.

Israel National News has turned to Tamano-Shata for comment and will update this article if comment is received.