Gay Israeli Parents Given Welfare Benefit for First Time in New Government-backed Bill

New gender-neutral bill allows a father or mother with young children to receive welfare and not show up at employment office. 'Anyone who has rights from the state should receive them without discrimination,' Social Affairs Minister Katz says.

David Bachar

Men with young children will soon be able to obtain welfare payments without having to look for work, under a bill approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

The approval by the committee essentially paves the way for the coalition parties to back the legislation, virtually guaranteeing its passage in the Knesset.

People on welfare are usually required to visit the government’s Employment Service every week to see if any jobs are available, and must take any offered job. However, the existing law exempts women from this requirement if they have a child under two.

The new legislation, proposed by Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz, would make this provision gender-neutral by allowing either the husband or the wife to claim this exemption, depending on who is the primary caregiver. The bill would also for the first time allow gay men with children to benefit from this provision.

“Anyone who has rights from the state should receive them without discrimination,” Katz said. “When the times change, the laws must adapt themselves.”

Also Sunday, the committee approved a bill to give a one-time payment of 8,600 shekels ($2,200) to the parents of a disabled child who dies, to cover any expenses arising from his death. Until now, this payment was given only to the families of disabled adults who had passed away.