Israeli Left push own legislative agenda in the Knesset

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 8, 2014

The collapse of the peace talks with the Palestinians is already causing friction within the Netanyahu coalition, with centre-left ministers trying to justify their presence in government by proposing liberal laws.

The pressure is mainly on Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who joined the coalition initially to push forward negotiations with the Palestinians and served as Israel’s chief negotiator.

Ms Livni is coming under increased public pressure, including demonstrations outside her home, to leave the coalition. Some in her party back such a move. Her response has been to prepare a whole raft of new laws on issues that are bound to raise the hackles of the right wing and religious elements of the coalition.

The first was a proposal she presented on Sunday to have the rights of same-sex couples recognised in all laws on inheritance.

Some of the members of Yesh Atid are also planning similar legislative forays. Leading them is Health Minister Yael German, a former member of left-wing Meretz, who is championing a surrogacy law that will make it easier for same-sex couples to use the surrogacy route to parenthood.

Other legislative proposals in the pipeline are intended to provide new forms of civil partnership and streamline conversion procedures.

All of them will create further friction between the government and the religious establishment, represented within the coalition by members of Habayit Hayehudi, and exacerbate the relationship with the Charedi community already under strain over the new national service law.

Last updated: 7:45pm, May 8 2014