"The Nation of Israel was saved in recent months from an attempt by the hidden radical left to strike out at the basic family structure." So says Rabbi Ya'ir Kartman of Yeshivat Beit Orot, in an interview with Arutz-7's Gil Ronen.
Rabbi Kartman heads the Department of Torah and State in the Yeshivat Hesder Beit Orot on Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem.
"A number of people working together," he said, "succeeded in thwarting legislation that would have rocked the legal status of parents in Israel and their authority over their children."
Specifically, a bill that would have nullified parents' status as "guardians" of their children and would have attributed to them only "responsibilities" towards their children has now been removed from consideration.
Instead, a new bill that does not include this clause is being formulated by various Knesset Members.
The name of the bill is "The Law of Parents and Their Children," and it is comprised of two parts, Rabbi Kartman explained: "One part, which the public is well aware of, would grant equal custody rights to both parents. This would replace the status quo which, all things being equal, gives the woman automatic custody of all children under the age of six. The feminist movement – an arm of the hidden radical left – opposes this change."
The second part of the bill is that which seeks to replace "parents' rights" with their "responsibilities" towards their children. Thus would be implemented recommendations by a committee headed by Hon. (ret.) Savyona Roth-Levy some 20 years ago.
The following two examples show the direction in which the proponents of the bill wish to take the family structure. For one thing, according to the "old" version, parents may, naturally, decide on their own where to live. According to the proposed version, their decision must meet the state's criteria for children's rights, and the children may in fact object to a decision to move – and receive legal aid for their opposition. In addition, the parents must educate their children in accordance with the children's "freedom of religion and conscience" – meaning, theoretically, that parents may not prevent their children from exposure to certain content deemed by the parents to be harmful.
"The family structure has been under threat for decades," Rabbi Kartman states, "by various elements that wish to either destroy [the family] or find replacements [for it]. In our opinion, this endangers our national existence, and it is very important to stand guard against this threat."
The nullification of the parents' guardian rights and their replacement with nothing more than "responsibilities" reflects the efforts of a radical left-wing group, Rabbi Kartman says. "This is the group that places 'children's rights' ahead of other rights, seeks to nullify parental authority, and makes mincemeat out of the family. The children would be placed in the center and the parents would be nothing more than service-providers."
Rabbi Kartman credited Arutz-7 and Director Shulamit Melamed, as well as his own Torah and State Beit Medrash, and MKs Betzalel Smotrich and Moti Yogev, with leading the successful struggle to thwart the proposed legislation. However, even though the main changes will not be introduced, the battle has not yet been completely won, as both sides continue to wrangle over the exact wording of the proposed legislation.
Regarding the "custody" aspect of the bill, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is said to be considering a change that will grant the mother automatic custody only of children under three years old, instead of the current six.