By Hilary White

JERUSALEM, December 10, 2007 ( – The Supreme Court of Israel has ruled that the state must recognise foreign adoptions by same-sex partners. The nine-judge panel upheld a previous ruling that said the Interior Ministry must recognise Nicole Berner-Kadish as the “second mother” of a child born to her lesbian partner while the pair lived in the US.

At the time of the first ruling in 2000, the Interior Ministry refused to comply saying that the concept of same-sex parents is a biological impossibility. 

Nicole Berner-Kadish adopted Matan, the son of her partner Ruty Brener-Kadish in the US and used the Israeli courts as part of an attempt to push same-sex adoption on the state of Israel. The Interior Ministry had requested the Supreme Court rescind its previous ruling, made by a three-member panel of two women judges and one man.

The Ministry’s representative, Osnat Mandel of the State Attorney’s Office informed the court that Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, is currently debating a bill which would require same-sex partners to ask a court to approve the request to have both recognised as legal parents.

The Jerusalem Post reports that under the current law, the Interior Ministry is obliged to recognise all marriages, adoptions, divorces and conversions from other countries. In July 1996, the state of California registered Nicole Berner-Kadish as the second mother to Matan. The couple then travelled to Israel and presented the adoption papers to local authorities but officials refused to recognise the arrangement, citing Israeli law that says a married couple can only be one man and one woman.

The battle in the courts has been led by Association for Civil Rights in Israel, roughly the Israeli equivalent of the US Civil Liberties Association. 

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish expressed astonishment that the Interior Ministry had asked that the court to overturn its previous ruling. “This is inconceivable,” she said. “You are making the law yourselves, there is a court ruling on the matter and you are not implementing it.”

The Court has previously ruled that other homosexual partners can be registered as the legal parents of children. Last year Tal and Avital Yaros-Hakak, two lesbians, were granted adoption papers for three children.

A member of the Knesset, Zevulun Orlev, blasted the Supreme Court’s decision saying, “There is no choice but to propose a legislation amendment that will clearly determine that a family is built by a man and a woman.”

Orlev is leader of the Miflaga Datit Leumit (National Religious Party) called by its Hebrew acronym Mafdal. He told media, “The court’s ruling goes against the Jewish faith and undermines the foundation of the State of Israel as a Jewish nation.”

Same-sex “marriage” remains illegal in Israel and all matters pertaining to marriage are governed by religious authorities of the three major religions in the country, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. But the Supreme Court ruled in November 2006 that the state must recognise same-sex “marriages” performed abroad after a case was filed by five male Israeli couples “married” in Canada.