Israeli Deputy Education Minister Says Same-sex Couples Aren’t Families

But a legislator also in the governing coalition replies: 'You won’t define what a family is.’

Shirly Seidler
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Shirly Seidler

“A family is a father, mother and child,” Israel's Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman said Tuesday.

Wortzman, a member of Habayit Hayehudi, was speaking on a panel on children’s well-being at a conference at Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva.

MK Adi Kol (Yesh Atid), the chairwoman of the Knesset Public Petitions Committee, had mentioned a gay couple who received a letter from the tax authority suggesting that they find a woman in order to receive tax credits.

Kol said legislation was needed to end this kind of discrimination. Wortzman responded with his remarks that a same-sex couple with children does not constitute a family. Kol replied: “You won’t define what a family is.”

In December, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation rejected a bill proposed by Kol that would end Israelis’ need to give their fathers’ name on government forms. According to Kol, the existing laws do not recognize “new families,” and some children are born to two mothers.

Wortzman also said the Education Ministry had launched a school for parents; there will be 500 groups for parenting training next year. According to Wortzman, parents must receive the tools to deal with educational issues.

Also at the conference, MK Pnina Tamano-Shata (Yesh Atid) said the authorities were taking children away from their families without reason, a statement that social workers in the audience took issue with.

Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman speaking in Jerusalem on February 4, 2014. Credit: Nissim Lev

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