Israeli Military Appoints First Ever Out Gay Major General

Sharon Afek’s promotion comes in the same week the Knesset denied surrogacy rights to same-sex couples

The Israel Defense Forces has promoted its top lawyer, Sharon Afek, to major general last Thursday, making him the country’s first openly gay person to hold that rank.

‘The rank promotion expresses the great responsibility of the military advocate general to act, shoulder to shoulder with commanders, in order to ensure that the IDF is able to fulfill its goal and win, without giving up on the rule of law,’ Afek said during the ceremony.

The decision to promote Afek to the rank of major general was made earlier this year. The military determined it was more fitting for the position of military advocate general.

In an interview with the Israeli Bar Association last year, Afek said it was an important step in showing members of the LGBTI community that the army would accept them.

‘It’s important for me to act as a role model,’ he said. ‘Even today, in the year 2017, we still encounter manifestations of ignorance and hatred of others. It’s important to me that young men and women know that there are no glass ceilings in the IDF that limit them.’

Although Afek’s promotion will be welcomed by LGBTI campaigners, Israel still needs to connect the dots on its national policy towards its gay citizens.

Afek’s appointment comes in the same week the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, denied same-sex couples surrogacy rights, while amending a bill to allow single women the right to have children via a surrogate.

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