Opinion | The Nuclear Family Threat

If we heed Israeli lawmaker Merav Michaeli’s quest to ‘break apart’ marriage from parenthood and childbirth, we’ll discover that the best solution is to replace straight marriage with gay marriage

MK Merav Michaeli at a meeting of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, March 2016.
Emil Salman

“This is not funny,” said MK Merav Michaeli on an Australian TV panel last month, before going on to say: “The core family as we know it, unfortunately, is the least safe place for children.” When she was justifiably attacked in Israel for her irritating remarks, she said in her defense that her words had been taken out of context. This is the pot calling the kettle black: a perfect way of describing Michaeli’s assault on the default choices of human society is to take these choices out of their natural context.

“The data” is what led Michaeli to her conclusions. These are “the data [that] speak about every fifth child that goes to some kind of abuse – sexual, physical, emotional.” One should have seen the astonished faces of the other panel members upon hearing her words. Every normal parent in the world who has not caught the semantic disease afflicting Michaeli and her ilk understands that the “data” she possesses is not worth the paper it’s written on, regardless of its scientific validity.

Israeli lawmaker Merav Michaeli talks gender and family in Australia

Michaeli didn’t stop clucking her tongue while her fellow panel members politely defended the family institution, as if she were the journalist in the film “Crocodile Dundee,” surrounded by natives living in sub-standard conditions in the Australian bush, surrounded by crocodiles. She invited them to take an intellectual journey to the future, where she lives – Israel is, as everyone knows, the vanguard of moral progress (the occupation, after all, only corrupts the Border Police, not the feminists of Tel Aviv) – so that they could embrace modern Western hygiene not only in the bathroom unit but also in the family unit.

One needn’t be a genius to see where Michaeli’s logic leads. If we heed her quest to “break apart” the nuclear family so that marriage is broken apart from parenthood and parenthood broken apart from childbirth, we can actually assemble a new default option, an ideal one that bypasses the structural problems of the older default. We’ll then discover that the best way to combat the inherent inequality – one that favors men and that Michaeli identifies as part and parcel of the institution of marriage – is to replace the default option with same-sex marriage, which lacks the inequality that derives from the differences between men and women.

In an ideal egalitarian society men will fraternize with men and women with women. And what about children? “The person who takes responsibility for the child – and someone must take responsibility for the child – needs to be obligated for certain criteria that the state should actually decide on.” The state? “No! What do you mean the state? It’s us coming together in a democracy, we all decide what it means to be a good parent,” explained Michaeli.

Subsequently, in the name of progress, perhaps the primitive practice which served our forefathers will also come to an end. Babies will be born under ideal laboratory conditions, and only under state approval. The “biological advantage” of heterosexuals, namely their ability to reproduce, will be considered a violation of the equality principle of homosexuals. After all, how will the state be able to determine whether men or women meet the required standards for becoming parents as long as they are free to become pregnant without a license?

Of course, somehow when we’ll all be “coming together” to determine criteria, the poor will get screwed. They simply won’t be able to afford to meet the standards required for a parenting license. Only last month a story in the New York Times stated that “marriage, which in the past was the default option for creating a family in the United States, regardless of income or education, has become an American way of life restricted only to the most privileged.” This is not funny.