Plans to give tax benefits for unmarried Israeli gay couples

Rochelle Sampy December 5, 2013
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A new bill proposed by Israeli political parties Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi will offer tax breaks for unmarried gay parents.

In its original form, the Yesh Atid bill, developed by MK Adi Kol, acknowledged gay partnerships and gave couples a tax break for having children.

At present, Israeli law provides better tax breaks for mothers rather than fathers which adversely affects gay couples.

However, Yes Atid’s recent proposal relating to tax breaks and recognition of gay partnerships was vetoed by opposing conservative parliamentary faction Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home).

Instead, Bayit Yehudi proposed an alternative bill that could grant tax breaks for gay couples, without recognising their domestic partnership.

In October, Yesh Atid introduced another piece of legislation to allow same-sex couples equal rights to straight couples. 

Bayit Yehudi vetoed the original bill a day after Yair Lapid, Israel’s finance minister who is part of Yesh Atid, made plans to move forward with it.

Due to the coalition deal formed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, Hatnuah and Yisrael Beiteinu parties as well as Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi has permission to veto any legislation relating to religion and state as proposed by the government.

Ayelet Shaked, party chairwoman of Bayit Yehudi, who sent a letter to the Prime Minister opposing the original bill, said: “The suggested bill disrupts the status quo between religion and the state as they exist in Israel, and its purpose is to burrow under the public debate on civil marriage which should be undertaken with seriousness.

“Such changes will have serious ramifications on Israeli society and the country’s character. Therefore, any small change must be reviewed in-depth and passed through agreements.”

Following the vetoing of the bill, Karin Elharar of the Knesset faction of Yesh Atid said, “It’s hard to believe that during International Human Rights Week, in the year 2013, we still need to argue about equality in the State of Israel.”

Apart from the tax break for gay parents, Bayit Yehudi have also proposed other alternative tax breaks which include one for all parents, irrespective of gender to receive half of the tax benefits currently offered to women.

Same-sex marriages are recognised in Israel, but must be conducted overseas as only the religious authorities: Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Druze can perform marriages, and none offer gay couples the chance to marry.

Like mixed faith straight couples, gay couples must marry in another country such as France or Canada, but once they do, they are recognised as a married couple in the Jewish state.

In May 2012, the Israeli Parliament voted against introducing civil marriage for gay and straight couples.


Related topics: Bayit Yehudi, gay parents, Israel, Israel, Middle East, Yesh Atid

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