What Israel’s Upcoming Election Means For LGBT Voters

Less than two years have passed since Israelis last went to the polls, but fractured by rancorous disputes over the budget, housing legislation, and a proposed law that would define Israel as a Jewish state, Benjamin Netanyahu’s center-right government collapsed earlier this month. The next election will take place on March 17, 2015.

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While the most recent government was in many ways ineffectual, a product of the deep socio-political chasms that separated the various factions within it, the 19th Knesset was “one of the best parliaments” in Israel’s history for Israel’s LGBT community, says Shai Doitsh, the chairman of the Aguda, the Israeli National LGBT Task Force. “For the first time, LGBT rights were part of the coalition negotiations. That’s not a minor thing,” Doitsh said in a recent phone interview.

Doitsh made special note of the pro-LGBT positions propagated by centrist faction Yesh Atid. The health minister in the last government, Yesh Atid’s Yael German, passed bills banning discrimination in job applications on the grounds of gender identity and opening up surrogacy to same-sex couples. Through the finance ministry, which Yesh Atid controlled, same-sex couples with children were granted access to the same tax credits heterosexual parents are entitled to.

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