By Michael Baggot

TEL-AVIV, March 25, 2008 ( – The Family Court of Tel-Aviv ruled that a homosexual couple, Giora Shavit and Avi Shadiv, can both declare themselves legal father of their adopted son. 

“Today, we are seeing more alternative families becoming accepted by society and it just proves that everyone has the right to raise children within the lifestyle they choose,” said Ira Hadar, Shavit and Shadiv’s attorney.

“Hopefully this will pave the way for all gay and lesbian couples to sign onto the waiting lists to adopt children,” Hadar added,

In early February, Israel’s Attorney General Meni Mazuz declared to the Welfare Ministry that homosexual couples are allowed to adopt. “There is nothing that dictates that the adoption of a child by a same-sex couple is not in the best interests of the adoptee,” said Mazuz.

“This decision is a dramatic step in the recognition of the homosexual-lesbian family as a fully fledged family and part of Israel’s social fabric,” said Irit Rosenbloom, director of the same-sex adoption advocacy group New Family, commenting on Mazuz’s ruling.

Mazuz’s ruling raised concerns about the well-being of adopted children of same-sex partners. “Two women cannot take the place of a normative mother and father. A woman cannot take the place of a father, and a child needs a father,” said Avraham Ravitz, a former deputy minister of the Welfare and Social Services Ministry.

“In a normative family, a child has a better chance of growing up healthy. Don’t we want the next generation to build normative families? How will they learn to do it if they don’t have someone to learn from?” added Ravitz. 

In December, the Supreme Court ruled that the Interior Ministry must register all partners of lesbian biological mothers as adopted mothers. The December decision was based on the case of Nicole and Ruty Berner-Kadish. 

In 1996, California declared Nicole the adopted parent of her partner’s biological son.  When the same-sex couple first arrived in Israel, however, the country refused to recognize Nicole as mother of her partner’s child. The Supreme Court rejected the Interior Ministry’s 2000 contention that Nicole could not be a mother since Israeli law defines a married couple as a union between one man and one woman. 

Although Israel still does not allow same-sex “marriages” to be contracted in its boarders, a November 2006 Supreme Court decision stated that Israel must recognize same-sex “marriages” performed in other countries.

Israel has grown increasingly supportive of homosexual practices over the last two decades.  In 1988, homosexual relations were declared legal. In1992, the government adopted anti-discrimination laws for homosexuals in the workplace. In June 2007, Jerusalem witnessed its first Gay Pride Parade.  Similar parades had been occurring in Tel-Aviv since 1998. 

The divisive Gay Pride Parades have brought Israel much social instability. In November 2006, the Tel Aviv synagogue Geulat Yisrael was desecrated with graffiti reading, “If we don’t march in Jerusalem – you won’t walk in Tel Aviv.” Following the desecration, police requested that the next Jerusalem parade be cancelled in the interest of public safety.

See previous coverage:

Israeli Attorney General Rules that Gay and Lesbian Couples May Adopt

Israel Opposition Party to Block Move to Allow Adoption by Homosexual Couples 

Israeli Supreme Court Orders Government to Recognise Foreign Same-Sex Adoptions

Gay Pride Set for Jerusalem Tomorrow; Religious Leaders Urge Prayerful Opposition Not Violence

Tel Aviv Synagogue Desecration in Support of Jerusalem Gay Pride

Israeli Family Court Rules Lesbians and IVF Children a Family