Israel’s deputy minister for religious services has defended his party’s allowing equal tax benefits to be extended to same-sex couples who are raising children by saying that Jews are still superior to non-Jews regardless of their sexuality.
‘A Jew always has a much higher soul than a non-Jew,’ Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) lawmaker Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan told the Maariv newspaper on Friday, according to Haaretz.
However Ben-Dahan said he still opposed same-sex marriage just as he opposed marriage between Jews and non-Jews.
‘It is natural that the world wants continuity through relations between a man and a woman,’ Ben-Dahan said.
Ben-Dahan’s religious conservative Bayit Yehudi party had been the main obstacle to allowing same-sex parents the same tax breaks as opposite-sex parents until they struck a deal with the Yesh Atid party that had been pushing for the reform.
The details of the deal have been kept secret but it is expected that Yesh Atid will abandon plans to grant equal tax breaks through legislation and instead have the tax breaks equalized via ministerial regulation instead - thus avoiding recognizing same-sex couples in law.
Bayit Yehudi is in a governing coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Yesh Atid and their coalition agreement allows Bayit Yehudi to veto any bill they disagree with that relates to religion or the state and the party has threatened to veto any formal recognition of same-sex couples.