Gays on strike in Israel over exclusion from surrogacy law

Lester Mason
Июля 22, 2018

Major demonstrations also were planned for Haifa in the north and Beersheba in the south. Protests also were planned in smaller Israeli cities.

Israel went on a nationwide strike on Sunday over a new law denying surrogacy to gay couples, with the support of a trade union and hundreds of local and worldwide firms.

In Tel Aviv, the heart of Israel's LGBT community, main roads were blocked for almost an hour and a central event in the evening drew hundreds of thousands of supporters chanting against Netanyahu and his government's policies.

On Wednesday, top Israeli LGBTQ groups called for its members and supporters of the community to not go into work and close businesses on Sunday, the first day of the Israeli work week.

Netanyahu said that, had he support the fathers' amendment, the entire bill would have been blocked in parliament, denying single women surrogacy rights. He said would support more comprehensive legislation on the matter in the future. Costs would be cut in half if it were allowed in Israel, he said. Bahloul said costs could be cut in half if it were allowed in Israel.

However, leaders of the gay community say Israel still has far to go in promoting equality. "The gay community is going on strike!"

"This is a regrettable and unequal law".

Protests were held throughout the day as members of the sizable community also announced a one-day strike that was widely supported across Israel's workforce and backed by numerous multinational companies.

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The municipality of Tel Aviv, Israel's liberal financial capital, and some three other municipalities also announced their support, in addition to main universities and colleges.

Israel's Airports Authority has warned that flights to the country are likely to be delayed as a result of the strike.

Meanwhile some companies have vowed to help fund surrogacy privately.

Their anger on Sunday (Monday morning NZT) was sparked by an apparent U-turn from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had committed to supporting a key change to existing surrogacy legislation but voted against an amendment when it was presented last week in the Knesset.

Following the vote, Netanyahu uploaded an additional Facebook post saying he supported surrogacy for fathers, as well as mothers.

Israel has been a trailblazer when it comes to gay rights, but same-sex relationships remain a taboo among religious conservatives who prop up Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government.

Following the vote, the local divisions of several worldwide companies, including Microsoft and Apple, announced they would support financially any employees who want to start a family though surrogacy.

The premier relies on ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, both of which oppose families with same-sex parents.

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