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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Did Rav Elyashiv say 'no compromise on civil marriages'?

Rabbi Moshe Gafni, a Knesset member from the United Torah Judaism party, denies that Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the pre-eminent Halachic decisor for Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox Jewry in Israel, has rejected the compromise on civil marriages proposed by Shas last week. If the compromise has not been rejected, it would be much easier for Binyamin Netanyahu to form a 'narrow government' consisting of Likud (27), Yisrael Beiteinu (15), Shas (11), United Torah Judaism (5), National Union (4) and Jewish Home (3).
MK Moshe Gafni, chairman of United Torah Judaism, of which Degel Hatorah is a component, told The Jerusalem Post Saturday night that he was not familiar with a statement of this type by Elyashiv, and that this certainly was not what Elyashiv had led him to believe. Gafni did, however, emphasize that his party was still involved in active negotiations with the Likud team, led by MK Gideon Sa'ar, to try and reach a workable coalition agreement.

Gafni's comments came after reports emerged on Friday, according to which Elyashiv said that United Torah Judaism could not allow changes to the status quo on civil unions.

Last week, the Likud accepted demands by Israel Beiteinu to find a solution for couples seeking unions without religious ceremonies. Israel Beiteinu is considered to be a key coalition partner for Netanyahu.

Israel Beiteinu reiterated Saturday night that it would stand by its guns on the issue, which is one of the major planks of its platform. The party's support base includes many Russian immigrants who do not want religious marriages.
Of course, if Labor (13) comes into the government, Netanyahu will only need one of Yisrael Beiteinu and United Torah Judaism.


At 9:29 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

True enough. I don't think the Rav will change his position but his party is resigned to the prospect of a "free vote" on the issue. No one really expects civil marriage to get anywhere.


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