Opposition summons Netanyahu to Knesset over surrogacy law
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Opposition summons Netanyahu to Knesset over surrogacy law

Yesh Atid gathers the 40 signatures necessary to require PM to address special session on 'the blatant discrimination of the LGBT community'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Knesset plenum session on March 12, 2018.(Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Knesset plenum session on March 12, 2018.(Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be obliged to attend a special Knesset session on gay rights, after an opposition party gathered the 40 necessary signatures on Sunday, obliging the premier’s presence and response.

The parliamentary move by the Yesh Atid party came as thousands of Israelis protested nationwide against a recently passed surrogacy law that excludes unmarried men.

“Netanyahu can’t be allowed to evade answering for the blatant discrimination of the LGBT community in the surrogacy law,” Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah wrote in a tweet.

Shelah said the session would require Netanyahu to “explain why he says one thing and does the opposite.” The prime minister last week voiced support for extending surrogacy rights to same-sex couples — before voting against such a measure just days later.

“The deliberation is only the beginning of the process, whose goal is clear: Changing the law and abolishing the discrimination” of homosexuals,” Shelah said.

Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah speaks during a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on November 19, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Separately, the state requested a two-day delay from the High Court of Justice on Sunday to present its response to a petition filed last year to allow surrogacy for homosexual couples.

It was the third time the state has requested a delay, the Haaretz daily reported, having previously argued the law was still being legislated.

The removal of the clause allowing surrogacy for same-sex male couples was met by widespread anger from Israel’s homosexual community, with the Agudah umbrella organization calling a nationwide strike Sunday in protest.

The law extended eligibility to single women, but not to men, effectively preventing homosexual couples from having a child via a surrogate.

Members of the LGBT community and supporters participate in a protest against a Knesset bill amendment denying surrogacy for same-sex couples, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Dozens of companies and the local branches of multinationals announced their support for the strike and their willingness to allow employees to participate in it.

Thousands demonstrated in major cities on Sunday across the country as part of the strike, culminating in a mass rally at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square attended by some 60,000 people.

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