Egalitarian parenting bill advances in Knesset

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A bill that would allow both parents of newborns to equally share the responsibilities of new parenthood has passed a first reading in the Israeli Knesset. 

The Egalitarian Parenting Bill, which will allow fathers to be more active in caring for their newborns, was approved in a preliminary reading on Wednesday. The bill, proposed by Rachel Azaria of the Kulanu party, moves to the Labor and Social Welfare Committee for revisions before returning to the Knesset floor for second and third readings.

The measure replaces the term “maternity leave” with “childbirth and parenthood time,” and changes “nursing hour,” which allowed new mothers to leave work an hour early for four months after the end of maternity leave, to “parenting hour,” which would allow the father to leave work an hour early – to pick up the child from day care, for example.

“The women will not be the only ones juggling work and raising children, the fathers will be able to enjoy fatherhood – which in my opinion is one of the greatest advantages that men have from the feminist movement – and the children will enjoy both parents,” Azaria said, according to the Times of Israel. “In the future, the relationship will be more equal, the partnership will be real in every aspect of the family unit, including raising and attending to children. With this bill we are taking another step towards that equality.”

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