The Knesset Plenum approved the preliminary reading of the Child Adoption Bill (amendment – adding authority regarding the religion of the adopting family), 2013 by MK Adi Koll (Yesh Atid) and a group of MKs

The bill intends to add to section 25 of the Child Adoption Law, which gives courts the authority to deviate from the usual qualifications in the law under certain circumstances, among them, the age of the child in question, an 18 year age difference between the adopter and adopted as well as other provisions. It also allows them to deviate from the prohibition that demands that a child can only be adopted by parents who are of the same religion.

In the explanation for the bill it is written ”section 5 in the Child Adoption Law establishes that a child must be adopted by parents of the same religion. The reason for this was to prevent the destruction of the cultural tradition of the child. However, in actuality, there is a large problem in the application of the law. You can adopt and convert the child, but you need the conversion to be approved by the conversion courts. Naturally, this approval is only given to Orthodox couples. A non-Orthodox couple must prove that they observe the laws of the Sabbath, prayer, a kosher diet, a wedding conducted by the Rabbinate and that they intend to send the child to religious schools. The results are that Orthodox families have a clear advantage over secular, conservative and reform families in the adoption process.

More than this, section 5 of the law, which doesn`t allow any judicial discretion, is likely to hurt the right to freedom from religion of the person. Similarly, other problems are created in instances that that the person does not have a recognized religion or when a couple of one religion tries to adopt the child of another.

The religion of the perspective adopters is an important consideration. However, it must be just one consideration from many.”

39 MKs supported the Bill and 10 opposed. The bill will be transferred to the House Committee who will decide which committee will discuss the bill for its first reading.