NIF Grantee: Knesset Neglects Religion & State Issues

A report by NIF grantee Jewish Pluralism Watch has found that only five percent of the laws passed in the 19th Knesset dealt with the intersection of religion and state. This is surprising given the 2013 elections when, for the first time in decades, a government was formed without a single religious party participating in the coalition.

According to the report, only 12 out of proposed 237 bills passed and a mere 3%of the committee discussions touched on religion at all.  All this amid a period when religious groups frequently attacked the parties in power for passing a supposed “wave” of anti-religious legislation.

“The 19th Knesset was one of the most disappointing on the subject of religion and state,” said Yizhar Hass, one of the founders of Jewish Pluralism Watch.  “After many years, a younger crowd of legislators arrived in the Knesset, many for the first time.  After many coalitions, a government was formed without Haredim.  And not only that, but also with a big, central party that secured its place on an unequivocal promise of big changes in the relations between religion and state.  And the result?  Silence.  Almost nothing.”

Jewish Pluralism Watch monitors elected officials’ positions, statements, legislative initiatives, and voting with regard to state and religion in Israel.

January 2015