The Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved today (Monday) of MK Eitan Cabel`s (Israel Labor Party) request to apply the law of continuity to a bill that proposes to allow couples to register their marriage in any one of the 14 national offices for marriage registration.

The original proposal was submitted by MK Fania Kirshenbaum (Likud Yisrael Beiteinu) during the 18th Knesset. According to Knesset regulations, bills approved by the Knesset Plenum in their first reading by a previous Knesset can be subject to continued consideration in the next Knesset if one of the original submitters requests to continue the deliberations regarding the bill. The committee under whose jurisdiction the law falls can then ask the Knesset to continue the legislative process from where it ended during the previous Knesset.

The bill attempts to allow couples to register for marriage in the place of residence of one of the partners, the place of the wedding, or one of 14 marriage registration offices, whose locations will be established by the law. According to the existing law, couples can only register for marriage in the place of residence of one of the partners, or the place of the wedding.

MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) opposed the request, alleging that most of the original authors of the law no longer serve in the Knesset as MKs and therefore the law of continuity should not apply. Maklev added that the bill is political and not really intended to ease marriage registration because the Ministry of the Interior will still not register the groom as married except in the place of his residence. Maklev added that ”Everyone knows why they came under the `chuppa`.”

Additionally, in a second vote, the committee also authorized the Bill to Amend the Religious Judges Law by MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (HaBayit HaYehudi) and MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid). According to the bill, one of the representatives from each the Government, the Knesset and the Bar Association will be a woman. Furthermore, the bill will expand the ten member committee to eleven. The additional member will be a Rebbetzin chosen by the Minister of Justice.

MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) attacked Committee Chair Rotem saying, ”The Messiah will see what you are doing here and he will not come! This committee will be the trashcan of Judaism. All of the anti-religious laws will come to you.” Gafni turned to Rotem and said ”You have always been anti-religious! You act like a hero, speaking in such a sophisticated way, which is why you are not able to be a member of the Committee to Select Judges, because they need strong people there. You are competing with Minister Bennett to see who is more liberal.”

MKs Maklev and Avraham Michaeli (Shas), who submitted the request for a second vote, attacked the bill claiming that it defied the Rabinnical Courts and would lead to women being appointed to the position of judge, not just member of a selection committee. They challenged the bill`s supporters asking, ”Why are you opposed to reservations that attempt to apply this bill to the Committee to Appoint Judges?”

It should be noted that the House Committee intended to bring the bill for discussion and a vote on the second and third readings today.