Israel’s Gantz announces major step for LGBTQ rights

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11/23/2020

Israel’s gay community recorded one of the greatest achievements of its long struggle for equal rights on Nov. 19 when Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz instructed that all official forms issued by his ministry replace the “mother” and “father” categories with the designations “parent 1” and “parent 2.” Gantz presented the move as a “symbolic and important step on our part — the part of ‘the State’ to recognize the requests of families and their ways of life.” Gantz also instructed other ministers of his Blue and White party to integrate the change in the agencies and offices under their purview, as Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn has already done. The change does not require special legislation since it is a ministerial directive, and it can be implemented immediately. This may be a symbolic act, but its historic significance and potential for generating change throughout Israeli society cannot be ignored. Service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is mandatory for all Israeli men and women when they turn 18. Except for ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arab citizens, almost every Israeli family has a relative in the military on active or reserve duty, and millions of adult Israelis have served in the army and have already or will in the future send a son or daughter to serve for two or three years.

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