Israel: The homosexual community in Israel was outraged on March 14 after discovering that Housing Minister Uri Ariel had appealed against a law that would allow same-sex couples to undergo the surrogacy process in Israel instead of having to do so abroad.
The bill, which was authored by Health Minister Yael German of the Yesh Atid party, narrowly passed the Ministerial Committee for Legislation with the approval of seven ministers from Yesh Atid, the Likud and Hatnua parties. Five ministers from the Jewish Home and Yisrael Beytenu parties voted against it, reports israelnationalnews.com.
Ariel belongs to Jewish Home, a nationalist and religious zionist political party.
The bill would have gone on to the Cabinet for approval, but is now likely to be quashed due to Ariel’s appeal. At present, only heterosexual couples can make a surrogacy arrangement with a woman willing to bear their children.
In response to Ariel’s appeal, the homosexual community vented its frustration.
“Uri Ariel, on behalf of me, my family and on behalf of all homosexuals in Israel: Damn you. May you go to hell and have trouble. I hope that no trace is left of you and your entire family. Curse you and your memory,” said television host, writer and producer Gal Uchovsky, according to Channel 2 News.
Assi Azar, co-host of the Israeli version of the “Big Brother” reality program, sent a letter of protest to Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett.
“Mr. Ariel’s ugly act deeply hurt people, whose only desire is to establish a home in Israel, have children, raise a family…all I have left to say to you and to your friends in the party today is shame on you!” wrote Azar.
Minister German, who initiated the law, told israelnationalnews.com that she had felt as though “a knife was stuck in my back and heart when I heard about the appeal filed by Uri Ariel.”
German emphasized that before submitting the law to committee, she sat long hours with members of the Jewish Home party, “to locate the painful issues for them, to smooth over, to remove and add. It was clear they would vote against it, but it was also obvious after the adjustments we made that no appeal would be submitted.”
The issue of gay marriages and rights has been a point of contention between Jewish Home and Yesh Atid, two parties which disagree on a host of issues but which formed a pact after last year’s election to join the coalition together.
MK Adi Kol of Yesh Atid has been trying to legislate civil marriage in Israel. She also initiated a bill to give same-sex couples equal tax breaks, a bill which Jewish Home initially opposed but eventually compromised on by not having the bill give same-sex couples official recognition, thereby sparing Jewish Home from being perceived as officially supporting gay marriage.
Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1988 and Israel became the first in Asia to recognize unregistered cohabitation between same-sex couples, making it the only country in Asia to recognize any same-sex union thus far.