New Bill Threatens to Cause Coalition Crisis

The National Religious Party refuses to remove support for law promoting division of property before divorce is finalized.

Head of the National Religious Party Zeluvun Orlev is refusing to relinquish his support for the law relating to the division of property before the 'get' (Jewish divorce certificate) is issued.

Second and third readings of the bill are expected to go to a vote on Monday, an act which threatens to cause a coalition crisis, "Not only did I not back down, but I am attacking," said Orlev.

An amendment to the law governing the financial relations between a couple is under discussion. The bill is a procedure called the "balance of resources," which refers to the division of property accumulated during the couple's marriage.

At present, the law states that the balance of resources will be dealt with only after the get has been delivered. As a result, the man can condition the giving of the get upon his receiving most of the property.

Under the new version of the law, the family or rabbinical court will be able to implement the balance of resources before the divorce if the divorce claim was submitted after a year, or if there was evidence of violent behaviour between the couple.

The bill was supported by dozens of Knesset members but was initiated by several religious Knesset members, including the chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee in the Knesset, Menahem Ben- Sasson, along with Orlev and MK Michael Melchior.

The reason for the national religious interest in the matter is that secular Jews can reach financial agreements outside of the rabbinical courts and so the issue is less relevant to them. Religious Jews on the other hand, need the rabbinical court to settle the matter.