Repeal of Ban on Disclosing Adoption Status Takes First Step

A clause in Israel’s Adoption Law makes it a criminal offense for an adoptee or an adoptive parent to reveal that fact. New bill would allow adoptees to decide for themselves whether to make the information public, eliminating the need to obtain a court order.

Ofer Vaknin

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation will decide on Sunday whether to allow a bill to proceed that would permit adoptees to disclose their adoption status.

A clause in Israel’s Adoption Law makes it a criminal offense for an adoptee or an adoptive parent to reveal that fact. Obtaining permission to disclose that they were adopted or that they adopted a child means navigating a bureaucratic morass. The law was meant to protect the privacy of the adoptee’s biological and adoptive parents.

The bill would allow adoptees to decide for themselves whether to make the information public, eliminating the need to obtain a court order.

The bill’s sponsors, Knesset members Yfat Shasha-Biton and Eli Alalouf (Kulanu), argued that supplementary legislation could protect the parties’ privacy.

“This bill seeks to suit the present era and to correct the injustice whereby children born from donated sperm are entitled to reveal their existence, adoptive children are sentenced to oppressive silence under the auspices of the law,” the bill’s preamble says.

“This amendment seeks to put the child’s welfare, his right to speak and his freedom to be at peace with his identity at center stage,” they continued. “The present era is characterized by social and interpersonal openness, many issues are no longer kept silent, and in order to improve and change the system, it’s necessary reveal oneself, to speak and to bring things out [into the open].”