LONDON — Gay Israeli couples who want to adopt came one step closer to doing so in Israel this week after a surrogacy bill passed its first reading in the Knesset, Jewish News, a British outlet, reports.
The would-be law, which passed with a majority of 45 votes to 15, would mean the country’s same-sex couples no longer have to go abroad to adopt, and would instead be able to have children via surrogates in Israel, the article said.
“This bill is about the principle of equality, regardless of one’s sexual orientation or the composition of the family unit,” Health Minister Yael German, who first submitted the bill in January, was quoted as having said. “Everyone has the right to become a parent.”
It was brought in part as a response to the growing number of Israelis traveling abroad each year to use foreign surrogates, raising legal and ethical questions that Israeli lawmakers acknowledged they were “required to address,” the article notes.
However, it has met with some opposition, with ultra right-wing nationalist Housing Minister Uri Ariel, from the pro-settler party Jewish Home, among those appealing against it.
Orthodox politician Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism was quoted as saying the bill was “meant to destroy the nature of family as we know it.” Shas MK Nissim Zeev called it “a corrupt bill.”
“We are treating the import and export of babies as if we were dealing with frozen meat,” Jewish News quoted him as having said. “The bill is morally depraved.”