Stay up-to-date with our many communities: Here’s what’s been happening this week in the intersecting worlds of pro-Israel and the LGBTQ community!
Back in January, we launched A Wider Bridge Impact, our organization fundraising arm to financially advance and support the struggle of the LGBTQ community in Israel. Our first project, The Orthodox Visibility Project, aimed to help the religious LGBTQ organizations fund a visibility campaign in the media. See the outcome!
THE ADOPTION CONTROVERSY
On Sunday, the government came out in favor of effectively preventing adoption by same-sex couples. Responding to a petition to the High Court of Justice challenging the current policy, it said that given the “reality of Israeli society,” same-sex parents put an “additional burden” on their adopted children. On Monday, the state took back the statement, saying it was ‘poorly worded’ and asked the court more time for reassessment. On Tuesday the court gave the state two months to rethink its position. On Thursday the Aguda organized a huge rally in front of the government offices in Tel Aviv. 10,000 people showed up.
Celebrities, law makers and leaders in the LGBTQ community lead a harsh response to the state’s decision, and are continuously speaking out for full equality for LGBTQ people, putting the straggle of the community in the top of Israeli daily discourse. Harel Skaat spoke to the straight people in a moving video; Likud MK Amir Ohana said he will no longer vote with the coalition until the welfare and justice ministries rescind their recommendation. A Wider Bridge
Journalist Ravit Hecht explained that the Israeli public is largely sympathetic toward the LGBT community. The state’s opposition to same-sex couples adopting is simply disconnected from reality. Haaretz
LGBTQ leaders were joined by many voices of children of LGBTQ couples AND straight adopted children of straight couples, calling on the state to change its mind in regards to adoption: Top-rated entertainment show dedicated a full segment to the controversy; straight rapper Static, an adopted child, called out the government: “have we completely lost it? Aren’t we tired, the most persecuted people in history, of persecuting minorities? A Wider Bridge
Singer Amir Fryszer-Guttman declared on television that gay Israelis were done making the country look good without getting government support in return. Ohad Hitman, a top Israeli singer and composer, said that gay artists like him are stepping up because they are “dreamers” who want to create a better world. He said he personally felt an obligation to “speak his truth.” JTA
The Israeli Medical Association published an official position paper on the adoption of children by LGBT couples and determined that LGBT parents are entitled to adopt children just like heterosexual parents. “End discrimination based on sexual preference in this matter.” A Wider Bridge
OTHER ISRAEL NEWS
Star of current children and teens’ #1 Israeli TV show Daniel Moreshet comes out as gay in a post he wrote on his Facebook page. WDG
NORTH AMERICA NEWS
Using words like “shock,” “alarm” and “frustration,” LGBT Jewish leaders in the U.S. said they were stunned by the news that two Israeli government ministries had signed off on “shockingly biased” policies making it extremely difficult for same-sex couples to adopt children in Israel. Haaretz
SAN FRANCISCO — A Wider Bridge honors the legacy of founder Arthur Slepian, whose vision for our organization has strengthened the LGBTQ communities and Jewish communities of North America and Israel. A Wider Brunch
SEATTLE — “We do not rule the world. We do not eat babies. We do not sacrifice virgins. We do not run the media. We are real, live human beings:” Ariel Lipson, a 20-year-old queer trans man has been experiencing anti-semitism since entering high school. Gay Star News
Since 2000, Birthright has provided free 10-day educational and cultural trips to Israel for more than 500,000 Jews ages 18-26. Niche Birthright trips like the LGBTQ trip ensure that all eligible participants feel they have a place in the often transformative experience of discovering Israel. JNS
Yoav Sivan, a journalist and member of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps of the World Jewish Congress, gives guidelines to activists in the LGBT community who want to keep the all-important value of inclusiveness. The Jerusalem Post
Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Florida, says that preventing same-sex couples from adopting is not fitting behavior for Jews, and that Israel “shoots itslef in the foot.” Religion News Service
Acclaimed corresponder Chemi Shalev noted that government officials tried to blame society’s intolerance for their refusal to recognize same-sex adoptions – but the fault is in themselves. Haaretz