Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has reached a coalition agreement with the Haredi party, United Torah Judaism, to allow gender-segregated public events and form a panel to study eligibility requirements for Jewish immigration, according to an unsigned copy of the draft. treated
The draft confirms previously reported details of the ultra-Orthodox party’s broad demands to strengthen its control over religious institutions and apply religion to civil affairs, along with a wide range of demands in education, welfare and other areas.
The parties agreed to accept the judicial reform legislation proposed by the next Minister of Justice, who will be a member of the Likud parliament. The right has long sought to reform the checks and balances between the judicial and political branches, making the former more dependent on politicians, including weakening the Supreme Court and increasing the influence of politicians on judicial appointments.
The agreement also stipulates that laws will be changed to allow service providers to refuse service on the grounds of “religious belief” – likely referring to the gay community – “if the service or product is not unique and a similar alternative can be obtained in geographical proximity. and at a similar price.”
Although UTJ, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party and Otzma Yehudit, Religious Zionism and Noam’s far-right alliance all ran as a Netanyahu-led bloc in the Nov. 1 election, the prime minister-designate only indicated on Wednesday that he may form a government. shortly before a legal deadline.
Neither party has signed a final coalition agreement with Netanyahu’s party, although Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionism announced on Thursday that they had reached a framework with Likud.
UTJ has pushed for legislation to allow gender-segregated public events, which the party claims is respectful of deeply religious elements. According to Israeli law, this gender segregation is currently illegal, but the draft agreement promises to legalize the practice.
UTJ has also worked to lower standards for Jewish immigration to Israel under the Law of Return. At the heart of Israel’s relationship with the Jewish diaspora, the Law of Return establishes that a Jew, or the grandchild or child of a Jew, has the right to Israeli citizenship.
Religious lawmakers have attacked the Law of Return’s grandchild clause, saying it dilutes Israel’s Jewish character by allowing immigrants who are not considered Jewish under Orthodox law.
Along with opposition leaders, several Likud lawmakers have rejected any changes to the Law of Return, including Soviet-born deputy Yuli Edelstein, a former prisoner of Zion, who called on lawmakers to “leave it alone.”
In an apparent nod to that delay, the agreement between Likud and UTJ raises issues of the grandchildren clause and promises to quickly create a commission to discuss reforms, rather than detailing specific changes to the Translation Law. The committee will have representatives from all parties of the coalition.
The agreement includes a clause confirming that only Orthodox conversions made through Israel’s Chief Rabbinate will be accepted. Critics of the current system, including former religious services minister Matan Kahana, say the conversion system should be liberalized to encourage conversion among immigrants who are not recognized as Jews under Orthodox law.
Also touching on issues of religion and state, the draft agreement shows that the UTJ committed to legislating more military exemptions for full-time religious studies and adopting a quasi-constitutional Basic Law on the Torah. UTJ has put both as a condition to support the next state budget.
“In light of the importance that the Jewish people has given and continues to give to the study of the Torah for generations, a new Basic Law will be established: Torah, which states that the study of the Torah is a fundamental value in the heritage of the Jewish people. , and it will happen before the adoption of the budget for 2023”, says the coalition agreement. sketches
Military exemptions for the ultra-Orthodox have been a fraught issue for years, sparking years of political instability that culminated in November’s election.
Among other religious-related agreements, the draft agreement includes a commitment to include a representative of the Chief Rabbinate on panels that allow public sector work on Shabbat; legal prohibition to bring ten, or unleavened bread, to the hospitals during Easter; and a commitment to “maintain the status quo of religion and state.”
He also promises to cancel two reforms approved by Kahana: the liberalization of the Kosher certification market and changing the system for appointing municipal rabbis.
At the core of UTJ are many families struggling with poverty and food insecurity. The party secured NIS 1 billion ($286 million) to continue the food stamp program.
The party secured a commitment to look at lowering the cost of gluten-free food for people with celiac disease by subsidizing food, putting price controls on products or distributing benefits to people with the disease.
The agreement promised to freeze the outgoing government’s agricultural reforms in order to liberalize the domestic food market.
The UTJ pledged to support the bloc’s judicial reform ambitions, which will also allow some of the party’s most controversial proposals to avoid possible overturning by the High Court of Justice.
The draft agreement includes a clause where the UTJ accepts all judicial reform legislation proposed by the next Minister of Justice. The package is expected to include the controversial nullification clause, allowing the Knesset to reinstate laws struck down by the High Court, as well as changes to the Supreme Court and its appointment process.
The UTJ endorsed a Likud-backed push to allow politicians to hire and fire legal advisers in government ministries. Today, these positions remain independent and under the authority of the attorney general.
Regarding education, the parties agreed that the “independence, special status and relative budget” of ultra-Orthodox schools will be preserved, and the next education minister will agree to extend the exemption, allowing some Haredi institutions not to teach basic subjects such as English and mathematics. .
The agreement includes a clause that the government will prioritize the construction of new schools in ultra-Orthodox communities and provide significant funding increases to existing educational institutions, including equalizing teacher salaries with those of non-Haredi schools.
The text of the agreement released on Thursday did not include a section on the ministerial and Knesset positions that the UTJ will receive.
As part of the deal with Likud, UTJ leader Yitzhak Goldknopf — a new member of the Knesset and the next housing minister — will be a member of the high-level security cabinet, according to Hebrew media.
If Goldknopf wins a seat in the cabinet, it would be the first time a Haredi lawmaker has served on the key panel, which makes sensitive defense decisions.