The government announced on Sunday that there are no intentions to change the law and allow gay couples to adopt in Israel.
In response to a High Court petition, the state said that it was opposed to allowing same-sex couples to adopt because it would place an “additional burden” on the child.
“The professional opinion of the Child Welfare Services supports preserving the existing situation” that the adopting couple be a man and a woman, the government wrote to the court.
This “takes into account the reality of Israeli society and the difficulty it may entail with regard to the child being adopted.”
The government was responding to a petition to the court asking to allow common-law couples and same-sex couples to adopt.
Several lawmakers condemned the government’s decision.
Meretz’s Michal Rozin, who heads the Knesset’s LGBT lobby, Yael German of Yesh Atid, Merav Michaeli of the Zionist Union and Kulanu’s Merav Ben Ari said in a statement that the decision was homophobic and showed the government’s cynical use of the homosexual community.
“This is a foolish and discriminatory decision that is accompanied by unprecedented homophobia,” they said. “The Israeli government is again abandoning the gay community and this highlights government’s cynical use of the community: In English they boast about [being a gay-friendly country], but in Hebrew they deny basic rights.”
However, for the first time, common-law couples will be permitted to adopt children in Israel.
The state said that the position of the Justice Ministry and Welfare Ministry has now changed and will allow unmarried couples who have lived together for at least three years to adopt.
Previously, only married couples were eligible for adoption in Israel.
While gay couples can’t adopt in Israel, they frequently travel overseas to adopt children.