Anti-pluralism resolution whips up frenzy in Knesset

On the other are legislators from religious parties who feel threatened by a court that has issued a series of rulings that grant more recognition to Judaism's liberal streams and that erode the status quo, which gives the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate control over Jewish lifecycle events.

Knesset member Zahava Gal-On, a member of the secular Meretz Party, received permission to raise the matter on the Knesset floor Tuesday — prior to a new debate on the resolution next week.

"I think it's a miserable and stupid decision, and hope the high court will not pay attention to it," Gal-On told Israel Radio. She acknowledged that members of her own party had failed to show up to vote against the motion.

"I admit, it was a foul-up on our part. Some of our members were not in the building at the time; everyone was busy with different things. But I think it is not too late to change this awful decision that was made."

Coalition whip Ophir Pines said the motion displayed contempt toward both the court and parliament.

But Pines backed a second motion that was also passed Monday, which called on the high court to show sensitivity to the various sectors of Israeli society on issues crucial to them.

"I think the Knesset as the legislative authority should send a polite, respectful message to the high court to demonstrate sensitivity regarding matters in political dispute in this house. But not more than that," Pines said.

On the other side of the divide, Religious Affairs Minister Yitzhak Cohen, a member of the fervently religious Shas Party, expressed satisfaction with passage of the first resolution and warned against taking steps to cancel it.

"If the Knesset starts to function based on the caprice of one party or another, the whole thing could begin to be dangerous and be seen as the beginning of the unraveling of the Israeli parliament," he said.