Bintel Blog

Israel Grants 'Maternity Leave' for Gay Father, Even as Homophobia Abounds

By Nathan Jeffay

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New research indicates that homophobia is rife in Israel.

Responding to a survey conducted by the school of psychology at the Center for Academic Studies in Or Yehuda, one-third of people said they are “disgusted” by sex between men. Only 6% of respondents said the same about sex between women.

Some 19% of parents said they would prohibit their children from meeting gays or lesbians, and 17% said they would support a law limiting homosexual relations.

A quarter of respondents completely object to homosexuality and 7% stated that they opposed it because it was forbidden according to their religion. About one in three people were of the opinion that when it comes to sex “anything goes.”

Interestingly, the survey comes at a time when the Israeli establishment is better disposed than ever to requests by the gay rights lobby. In May, for instance, the state agreed for the first time to register an overseas adoption by a gay couple. The child is to be granted Israeli citizenship.

The case involves 8-year-old boy from Cambodia who was adopted in America in 2000 by two men with dual American-Israeli citizenship. Since 2001, the child has lived in Israel on a temporary residence visa that is extended annually.

Gay rights organizations have praised the decision and New Family, an advocacy organization for non-conventional families in Israel, said that the ruling indicates that Israel is starting to hold same-sex parents in the same regard it holds male-female parents.

Then last week the National Insurance Institute granted “maternity” leave for a same-sex couple. Yonatan Gher, director of the Jerusalem-based Open House Pride and Tolerance organization, received approval for 64 days government-funded leave from work following the birth of his biological son, born to a surrogate mother in India.


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