A daycare center in Ramat Gan retracted a spot reserved for a four-month-old baby after finding out that the child’s parents were a gay couple, according to a Monday report.
Elad Musaev Kazaz and his partner, who was not identified in the report, had a son through a surrogate in a process that took over three years, he told Channel 12.
When the child was four months old, Kazaz applied to a daycare center in the city adjacent to Tel Aviv.
“I told her that I’m really stressed that he won’t have a place in daycare next year, so I asked them to save me a spot, and she said ‘I’m saving you a spot,’” Kazaz said.
Two months after first making contact with the center, the daycare’s employees asked Kazaz questions about his son, and he told them the child had been born through surrogacy in the US, he said.
Kazaz told the daycare’s director that his son had two fathers, which seemed to surprise her, according to recordings of the conversation broadcast by Channel 12.
The director then told Kazaz, “so I’m going to share this with you, heart to heart… I’m a person who is religiously observant.”
“I need to digest the fact that we’re talking about two fathers,” she said.
Kazaz asked her if the daycare was religious, to which she replied, “The daycare is not religious but the staff is religious, and I myself need to see about this and digest it.”
Later that day, the manager claimed that, as a religious woman, she would be unable to communicate continuously with men, and primarily talked with the mothers of the children at her daycare.
“I have to tell you it’s a little hard for me to believe that, but okay, it’s your decision. We’ve been talking for two months already and I’m telling you that I need a spot at the daycare, and today I came to register and I can’t because all of the sudden you understood that we’re a same sex couple,” Kazaz said in the recording.
“It sounded like an excuse, like it had taken her a few hours to figure out a line where it would be legitimate to not accept us to the daycare,” he told Channel 12.
“I was hurt. It really hurt me,” Kazaz said. “I hugged my son the whole time, like I was speaking to his heart, and I was looking him in the eyes the whole time and I promised to defend him and protect him.”
Kazaz said he and his partner had moved to Ramat Gan, a relatively well-to-do and secular Tel Aviv suburb, to avoid discrimination and live near an established LGBTQ community.
In response to the report, the daycare center told Channel 12: “The manager of the daycare is an observant woman. The management deals with mothers — at parents’ meetings, parties, communication and instruction. The daycare today has a couple of two mothers with an amazing baby. The manager did not give a negative answer and was responded to aggressively when she tried to explain the complex situation.”
The head of Aguda — Israel’s LGBT Task Force, Hila Peer, called the incident evidence of ongoing discrimination in Israel.
“The incident is a reminder to all of us, that even today, LGBTQ discrimination continues to exist and we all struggle for basic rights and equality. We will not tolerate a reality where couples are discriminated against only because of their sexual orientation.”
In February, the High Court of Justice struck down a law that blocks single men and gay couple from using surrogacy in Israel to have children, giving the Knesset a year to pass a new law. A summary of the decision publicized by the High Court of Justice said current surrogacy laws “disproportionately violate the right to equality and the right to parenthood of these groups and are illegal.” The decision was unanimous by the five-judge panel.
Current law only allows surrogacy for heterosexual couples or single women who are unable to have a child.
Attempts in recent years to expand access to surrogacy to the LGBTQ community have faced vehement opposition from ultra-Orthodox political parties.