Religion And State
RELIGION AND STATE
The state of Israel is a Jewish and Democratic state that was established with a “status quo agreement” regarding the relationship between religion and state. However, this agreement has proven to be incomplete and problematic in the long term because it contradicts the values of freedom and social equalities and denies citizens some of these rights.
The current situation actually hurts the Jewish identity in Israel. There is a great distance between the younger generation and religion and we need to change the balance of power to allow for free dialogue and a more liberal approach to generate strong roots and values for the present and the future.
We believe in both freedom of speech and freedom of thought.
YESH ATID believes that Israel is the national home for all Jewish people which must protect the rights of all its citizens and residents without distinction of gender, or religious affiliation as was established in the Declaration of Independence.
YESH ATID will lead a democratic debate based on these fundamental values and this dialogue will lead to a new approach. There must be state recognition of all religious movements equally and we will work to establish equal rights of pluralism among all Jewish and non-Jewish people.
YESH ATID believes that each individual has the right to live freely, without any fear of intolerance, especially towards Jewish people from around the world. The state of Israel has to be sensitive to all Jewish people and communities with a concern about the solidarity and common fate that we share with all the Jewish people.
We will establish relationships with Jewish people all over the world and will encourage studies of Jewish tradition, history, and values.
Yesh Atid will work to legislate civil unions to allow people to establish homes as they choose on a civil law. This arrangement will provide them with full civil rights as a couple despite their not being recognized as married in the religious realm.
We see marriage according to Jewish tradition as the ultimate approach for the Jewish nation but this must be by choice and not through coercion. We will work to enable all citizens to choose the path that fits their ideology and lifestyle.
Civil unions, as another option beyond the marriage track will provide all citizens with their full democratic rights.
There are 350,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union who moved to Israel according to the right of return but are not recognized as Jews by the Israeli chief rabbinate. When they seek to convert they stumble across obstacles from the religious judges who are disconnected from the challenges of our time and don’t recognize the need to connect this population to the Jewish nation.
Yesh Atid will work to quickly and efficiently implement the government decision to establish conversion courts on a local level to enable greater access for those who want to convert. If the government decision is not adopted into practice, Yesh Atid will work to apply parliamentary continuity for the conversion law sponsored by MK Elazar Stern and will bring it to the Knesset quickly for a second and third reading and a final vote.
Yesh Atid will also work to make order out of the process for clarifying who is a Jew among the immigrants from the former Soviet Union to remove the barriers and obstacles that exist when they come to get married and have to prove their Jewishness.
Shabbat in the Public Sphere
The issue of Shabbat and bringing the values hidden within the Shabbat to the fore is among the most important and complicated in Israeli society as a Jewish and democratic state.
Yesh Atid believes that it is possible to give every citizen the ability to express their approach to Shabbat according to their own beliefs. On the basis of the Gabison-Madan proposal, Yesh Atid believes that we must preserve the special quality of Shabbat as the official day of rest in Israel. At the same time, we must allow for cultural, communal, and spiritual activities which meet the needs of all Israeli citizens on this day.
We will work to allow for public transportation on Shabbat in secular neighborhoods. This transportation will be in a needs basis and without disturbing the religious community. We will explore the use of smaller vehicles such as minibuses as well.
Women praying at the Western Wall
We sponsored a law proposal requiring that the mechitza at the Western Wall plaza divide equally between men and women.
In addition, discussions and meetings took place between the rabbis of the Western Wall and the chief of the Jerusalem District, and representatives of the Jewish Agency in order to reach an agreement to build a third Plaza in the Western Wall for the broader Jewish public. Yesh Atid supports this plan.
The main consumers of religious services in the state of Israel today is the non- religious public, traditional and national religious.
Yesh Atid will improve and re-organize religious services for all Israeli groups and will open religious services for all in a pluralist, friendly and respectable manner.
In addition, we will work to cancel duplicate and extra rabbi duties in order to divert these extra sources of religious services to improve the quality of the services.
Kosher Organization Planning
Yesh Atid will work to make changes in the area of Kashrut supervision to solve the problems that cause public corruption and the involvement of non-profits in the food business.
We also will make sure that Kashrut will apply only to issues of food supervision and not to other non-related issues.
The fundamental right to be buried is a value that we must keep. However, there are many non-Jewish people that suffered during the Holocaust, suffered from anti-semitism in their mother lands, and carry Jewish names but are not allowed to be buried in Jewish cemeteries.
These hundreds of thousands of people must pay a lot of money for burial because the religious services only provide burials for those buried according to Jewish tradition.
Yesh Atid will work to implement the law of Civil Burial to ensure that each person has the right to burial according to his beliefs and near other family members.
PROPER REPRESNTATION FOR WOMEN
Yesh Atid passed legislation requiring female representation on the committees that choose rabbinic judges and secular judges and will not do the same for local religious councils.
Reinforcing female representation on the committee to choose the rabbinic court
One of the places where we see discrimination against women is in the rabbinical courts which has direct influence on the personal status of women. Only men serve as judges on these courts even though the parties under discussion are both men and women. The only way that women can influence the nature of these courts is by participating in the committee that appoints the rabbinic judges.
Chairman of the Committee to Promote the Status of Women, MK Dr. Aliza Lavie sponsored the law that requires four spots for women on the committee that appoints rabbinic judges.
Yesh Atid sponsored the law to establish family courts as the authority to rule on disagreements regarding civil matters during divorce proceedings and not the rabbinic courts.
Removing the “Arrest Paragraph” from in the Marriage regulation
The Ministry of Religious Services approved the “Zohar law” to allow marriage registration wherever a couple wants but ignored the paragraph that abolishes criminal arrest of rabbis who perform weddings without the couple being officially registered.
Yesh Atid will work to remove this clause from the law.
Pluralistic Study Halls
Torah study must be made available and accessible to all Jews. To this end, Yesh Atid supports the establishment of study halls for the non-religiously observant population. Yesh Atid will work to ensure equal budgets for all institutions promoting Jewish legacy and values.