The government approved a bill Sunday giving certain tax credits to same-sex couples.
Last week, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation rejected the same proposal, led by ministers from the Jewish Home and Yisrael Beytenu parties. Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat appealed that decision.
The legislation was sponsored by Adi Kol of the Yesh Atid party. “The bill I submitted passed the Ministerial Committee!” she said in a statement posted to her Facebook page. “For the first time, Israel supports a bill that recognizes the gay family unit…This is not over, there are those who will try to stop us, but we won’t let them!”
The bill is expected to pass a preliminary reading Wednesday. Channel 2 reported that the Jewish Home party is expected to support the legislation, giving it a majority in the Knesset.
But not all Jewish Home members are behind a bill that could be seen as violating current understandings on issues of family and religion.
“This is a change in the status quo that we will not agree to,” said a senior Jewish Home member, according to Haaretz. “But the action we’ll be taking on the matter remains to be seen.”
Construction Minister Uri Ariel said the proposal was meant to challenge the status quo on matters of religion and state. After a meeting Sunday with Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Ariel expressed concern about the “growing trend of anti-religious legislation gnawing away at the status quo.”
Pensioner Affairs Minister Uri Orbach charged that Kol’s bill was an attempt to surreptitiously push for recognition of gay marriage.
“This has nothing do with religion and state,” countered Lapid in a statement, “this has to do with human rights.”
The bill seeks to change the income tax law that give tax credits for children to parents. Since mothers receive more benefits than do fathers under the law, couples with two men were ineligible for certain credits.
The benefits for each child can reach over NIS 2,600 ($739) a year, which turns into tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a childhood.
The bill came about after a gay couple challenged the Tax Authority’s refusal to give them benefits reserved for mothers.