Israel considers marriage counselling tax cut

family law

Israel is considering a bill which would cut taxes for couples who attend counselling before they marry.

The measure was introduced in the country’s Knesset (Parliament) by Yehuda Glick, an MP from the centre-right Likud Party. If enacted, it would reduce the amount of income tax couples pay if they sign up for marriage counselling prior to their wedding. They would also receive a full refund of the marriage registration fee and a contribution towards the cost of the counselling itself, although exactly how much financial assistance for this will be available has yet to be determined.

The bill received enthusiastic support from Orthodox rabbinical organisation Tzohar, who claimed it would reduce the amount of money the government spends on divorce, benefits for single-parent families and dealing with domestic violence.

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow is the head of the group’s ethics department. He said divorce was “a great tragedy” which could be prevented if people are more aware of the commitments involved in marriage. Many people “don’t have the tools to deal with the challenges of relationships” he claimed.

Communication one area in which many people are failing, he added. Many “don’t know to listen and be attentive to what others are saying” and as a result the way people interact with their spouses is “becoming more violent and is frequently expressed with exclamation marks and decreasingly with question marks”.

Although the bill is expected to receive government support, voting on it has been delayed due to an issue with an unrelated piece of legislation.

However, counselling may not be as effective at reducing the divorce rate as the measure’s supporters hope. In 2015, a Canadian psychology professor suggested that pre-marriage education does not improve marital satisfaction. This claim was based on a survey of 191 couples over the course of two years.

Photo of the Israeli Knesset by israeltourism via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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