During a family trip to India, Irit and Einat Zevieli-Efrat discovered that their children’s birth certificates had been changed and the name of the non-biological mother had been erased from the documentation of the other mother’s children. This change, that occurred without the state informing the mothers, resulted in the Indian authorities accusing the mothers of providing false information. “The State of Israel behaves in a manner that is unthinkable and indescribable,” the couple stated.
THE ZVIELI FAMILY ON A TRIP PHOTO COURTESY OF THE FAMILY
The State of Israel changes birth certificates of children of same-sex mothers and deletes the non-biological mother’s name from them, all without the parents’ knowledge or consent.
Einat and Irit Zvieli-Efrat, have been partners for 15 years, and brought to the world 4 children together. Irit gave birth to twin girls Ofri and Hadar, 13, and Einat later gave birth to Elad (11) and then Yoav (4).
Each of the mothers had provided the appropriate court orders regarding her partner’s parenting in relation to the children, and later arranged the registration of both mothers’ parenthood status at the Ministry of the Interior. Later on, the couple received the birth certificates for all children, which stated that they were both the mothers of all four kids.
Four months ago, the couple and their kids left for a few months’ trip to the east. They visited Vietnam, Cambodia, and Nepal.
Two weeks ago they applied for visas for India at the Indian Embassy in Nepal. The couple made it clear that they were partners and that they were both the mothers of all four children. They were required to present birth certificates that would prove that. Since the birth certificates issued to them remained in their home in Israel, they contacted the Israeli Embassy in Katmandu and requested a copy of the children’s birth certificates.
When they returned to the embassy after a week to collect the birth certificates, it turned out to their amazement that the State of Israel erased the names of the non-biological mother from birth certificate of each child- and the birth certificate that was sent from the state is now different from the one they have at home.
The couple tried to explain to the embassy representative that the documents issued to them were not a copy of the documents they received from the state and have at home, to no avail. They eventually were asked to leave the embassy hurt and humiliated with their stunned children.
“To our amazement we discovered that the State of Israel unilaterally changed the registration of our children and erased the legal status of non-biological parent,” Irit wrote on Facebook, “meaning that at home we have birth certificates that we received immediately after the court’s decision where both Einat and me are the mothers of our children and the official and up-to-date copies of the Ministry of Interior list each mother with her own biological children separately. The State of Israel behaves in a manner that is unthinkable and indescribable. ”
The couple returned to the Indian embassy with the new birth certificates to finalize the visa issue, where they were “accused” of providing false information about their parenting. They have yet to receive visas to India, and were invited to be examined at the Indian Embassy due to the initial information they gave.
Birth certificates before and after the change
“The State of Israel breaks its own record in its harassment of the LGBT community,” said attorney Daniela Yaakobi, who represents the couple. “This is a very serious case. Interior Ministry officials work at nights behind the backs of the members of the community, without them knowing about it and certainly without their agreeing to it, and change certificates that were issued following court orders. I have no doubt that the case of spouses Tzvieli Efrat and their kids is not the only one. Beyond the humiliation, the mortification and the distress, the state puts a real risk to parents and children and abandons them. In the case of spouses Tzvi’eli-Efrat, there’s a real chance that they will be prevented from entering India because of the information they gave at the Embassy of India, based on birth certificates that were in their hands before the changes they did not know about. ”
The Interior Ministry’s Immigration and Population Authority said: “The basic issue is familiar to us and is pending in the High Court of Justice. As a rule, registration of an additional parent who is not a biological parent is done by means of a court order of parenting or an adoption order, and therefore the birth certificate that reflects biological parenthood does not make any change on the basis of the order. We are not aware of the incident and did not know of a retroactive amendment. If the couple comes through with all the details in the usual way and not through the social media, we can examine the case.”