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Israeli Welfare Minister Meets Representatives of the LGBTQ Community to Discuss the Adoption Crisis

Following a protest against the state’s position on adoption, a meeting was held Monday between representatives of the Aguda, the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, and Welfare Minister Haim Katz. In the meeting, the LGBTQ representitives presented the outline of the solution to the current crisis: “We are waiting to see whether there will be a substantive or semantic change.”

Following Thursday’s rally in front of the government tower in Tel Aviv, a first meeting of Minister of Welfare Haim Katz took place with the leaders of the Aguda and the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, which petitioned the High Court of Justice on the issue of adoption. MK Amir Ohana and representatives of the Likud’s LGBT caucus also attended the meeting.

Mickey Uzan, a gay fathers association’s board member, and Chen Arieli, chairman of the Aguda, briefed the Minister on the situation of the LGBT community and especially sub-communities, including elderly people, youth who were thrown out of their homes, prostitution victims and asylum seekers.

Representatives of the organizations presented the outline of the solution to the current crisis, which includes, among other things, the cancellation of parenting surveys conducted by the Ministry of Welfare for parents from the LGBT community, the determination of united and transparent criteria for adoption among heterosexual couples, LGBT members and single parents and ending discrimination against transgender parents.

During the meeting, there was no commitment from the minister, who at this stage only asked to examine and study the matter.

“We have responded willingly to the invitation of Minister Katz, and at this stage we are waiting to see whether there will be a substantive or semantic change,” said Chen Arieli. “Will we see another move here like that led by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and MK Merav Ben Ari to budgeting of the LGBT community, or will the position of the professional staff at the ministry remain and the change occur only in the phrasing.

“We have presented three core issues to the minister, including adoption, similar to MK Ohana’s demand for substantive change and an examination of the issue of adoption in an egalitarian manner that does not discriminate between heterosexual and LGBT couples. We call upon the general public, and certainly the members of the LGBT community, to stand with their friends at Jerusalem Open House at the Pride Parade in Jerusalem on August 3 and continue with the public struggle until there is a change.”

“We are happy for any dialogue that could lead to a sustainable solution to the discrimination against LGBT families,” said Udi Ledergor, chairman of the Association for Gay Fathers. “Now we expect action, not talk. The Ministry of Welfare can announce even today the end of discrimination against LGBT parents in the series of issues that were presented to him, even before the deadline set by the High Court of Justice to submit the position of the Ministry on September 10.”