Israel on Monday issued a passport to the first of a group of babies born to Israeli parents through surrogates in Thailand, paving the way for its parents, a same-sex couple, to bring the baby home to Israel.

The rest of the 15 babies born to surrogate mothers in Thailand are expected to receive Israeli passports in the coming days, according to activists working with the Israeli parents.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post last week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel had to secure assurances from Thai authorities that the Israeli couple would be permitted to leave the country with the baby. Palmor said the parents had to receive the approval of the surrogate mother as well as documents showing they have her consent to take the baby out of the country permanently.

Only after receiving approval from the Thai authorities were Israeli authorities in Thailand able to approve the passport for the baby.

Ze’ev Yanay, the head of the campaign on behalf of the Israeli parents, said Monday that “one of the babies is coming home and it is a great joy. The parents spent months toiling with exhausting bureaucracy, and only after the protests last week did they manage to force the government to find a solution.”

Yanay said that there are a total of 65 babies awaiting approval to come to Israel, including 50 that have yet to be born and whose mothers are in varying stages of pregnancy. He added that he and other supporters of the parents expect the remaining 15 babies to receive Israeli passports this week.

Last week supporters and Israeli parents of the Thai babies held protests on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday outside of Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s house in Tel Aviv. One of the supporters launched a hunger strike on Wednesday, but stopped after 48 hours when protesters received assurances from Thai authorities that the babies would receive passports, Yanay said.

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