Susie Becher, a member of the national executive of the New Movement-Meretz party, is a Canadian Jew who made Aliya and has spent most of her adult life in Israel. She has recently been greeted with the happy news that her sabra daughter is planning to marry another native-born Israeli. Since her fiance’s mother is not Jewish, however, these two Israeli citizens and veterans of the Israel Defense Forces must go abroad to have their wedding ceremony.
Ms. Becher writes of this problem in Ynet, touching upon the politics in the following passage:
… In early July, the Knesset rejected a bill proposed by the Meretz faction to legalize civil marriage in Israel. Unlike the bill proposed by Yisrael Beiteinu, which is designed to serve the narrow needs of Avigdor Lieberman’s voters from the CIS republics and other immigrant communities that comprise “problematic” (meaning non-Jewish) couples, passage of the Meretz bill would have ended the state’s institutionalized discrimination on the basis of religion. Nothing short of the option of civil marriage for all citizens of the state will end Israel’s violation of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which grants men and women of legal age the right to marry “without any limitation due to race, nationality, or religion,” and of its own Declaration of Independence, which promises equal rights “to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex.” …. Click here to read entire article online.
So why is Meretz right and the Rabbinical brotherhood wrong? We campaign for a secular State of Israel where this type of anomaly would be abolished. Surely a citizen can rightly expect to be registered, married, buried etc. in his/her own country?
While Meretz also supports the right of Jews to live an orthodox lifestyle in the State of Israel, it also supports the right of other Jews, other people who believe in different faiths, agnostics and atheists to live their own lives without undue interference from any self imposed “righteous”.
This concept is alien to any fundemantelist, as we see in Iran, as we see in many other countries in the world that have allowed a mingling of “church” with state.
Israel is no exception and has always been dogged by the proportional representation system adopted since the formation of Israel which allowed the religious parties to participate in Governments. The power went to the heads of the leaders of these religious parties and they soon believed that “God was on their side”.