A new Israel surrogacy law was met with a full day of protests and demonstrations on Sunday as the nation’s LGBTQ community pushed back against denial of the right to gay couples. Thousands reportedly came together in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, with some local sources citing a crowd of 60,000 in Tel Aviv alone.
Surprisingly only two people were arrested on Sunday, despite crowds reportedly blocking traffic in central Jerusalem and demonstrators blocked a Tel Aviv freeway for nearly a half-hour. Several police officers were deployed to keep the peace, ensure safety and maintain order.
The nationwide strike — during which it’s been reported some shouted “shame” and many more were waving rainbow flags — had been planned to take place for days beforehand.
Before last Wednesday, the Israel surrogacy law had denied the right to anyone not in a heterosexual married relationship, but the law was recently amended to allow single women the right. Gay couples and single men, however, continue to have no such right.
Since the Israel surrogacy law change came down, many companies and organizations have come out in support of the local LGBTQ community, with some sources citing 200 companies as allowing their employees to protest on Sunday. Others have said they would contribute money towards gay employees wanting to find surrogates abroad, a pricy endeavor.
Also following Wednesday’s legal amendment, the Municipal Building in Tel Aviv — which is commonly lit up in the colors of the rainbow for Pride — did so in protest of the Israel surrogacy law change. (Image below.)
#TELAVIV municipal building was lit up with the #LGBT community flag ?️? in a protest against the law that was passed in the Knesset and forbids gay men to become parents @ynetalerts pic.twitter.com/zJnbGyOMiG
— איתי בלומנטל (@ItayBlumental) July 19, 2018
Though Israel is commonly regarded as the sole beacon of LGBTQ support and visibility in the Middle East, it’s also a nation rife with religious conservatives who strongly oppose gay rights and relationships. The current administration, helmed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is a right-wing government.