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Leading rabbis protest new gender-neutral terms on some official forms

Religious leaders decry ‘twisted’ move to use ‘parent’ instead of ‘mother’ or ‘father’

Illustrative: Religious Jewish activists protest same-sex parenting and LGBTQ families, across from LGBTQ advocates in Tel Aviv, December 16, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Illustrative: Religious Jewish activists protest same-sex parenting and LGBTQ families, across from LGBTQ advocates in Tel Aviv, December 16, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

A number of leading rabbis in the national religious community released a statement Wednesday denouncing changes to parenting terms in some official state forms from “mother” and “father” to “parent 1” and “parent 2.”

In the statement reported by Channel 13 News, the rabbis told followers that if they encounter such forms, they should erase the new terms and write in “mother” and “father” in their place.

Among the 19 signatories were rabbis Haim Drukman, Dov Lior, Eliezer Waldman, Shmuel Eliyahu, Aryeh Stern and Yaakov Shapira.

The Knesset shot down a bill to include the terms in all government forms and documents, including identity cards and passports, in October. However, the Israel Defense Forces has implemented the measure for draftees.

“The Torah and Israeli tradition recognize just one family structure: a mother, a father, and children,” the rabbis said in the statement, also speaking out against “educational material that disrespects the family, or that gives legitimacy to other family structures.”

The rabbis concluded the statement with a message to public officials, educators, and other rabbis, requesting they teach and strengthen the traditional family structure in Israeli society.

The Knesset plenum on December 2, 2020. (Knesset spokesperson/Danny Shem-Tov)

The October bill fell was voted down 48 to 25 in its initial reading after Blue and White abstained, despite supporting the measure on paper, in order to toe the line of its right-wing and ultra-Orthodox coalition partners. Only members of Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beytenu and one Blue and White MK voted for the legislation.

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