THE GOVERNMENT is only providing headlines, not solutions for the housing crisis, says Labor MK Itzik Shmuli, pictured outside the housing project where he lives in Lod..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In a dramatic moment at the Knesset on Wednesday, gay Zionist Union Knesset member Itzik Shmuli turned to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and asked him why his policies prevent him from becoming a father.
“Mr. Prime Minister, look me in the eye and tell me: Why can [former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin] Yigal Amir be a dad and I can’t?”
Shmuli’s question came following the rejection of his surrogacy bill, which would have expanded eligibility for state-supported surrogacy
to include single men and gay male couples. A law passed in July permitting surrogacy for single women and lesbians after state support was previously given only to married heterosexual couples.
After Shmuli’s bill and similar legislation proposed by Yesh Atid MK Yael German fell, Netanyahu came to the Knesset plenum for a special session on surrogacy requested by 40 MKs. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni fiercely attacked Netanyahu in the meeting for filming a video in which he came out in favor of state-funded male surrogacy
and then voting against it.
“The time has come for you to look them in the eyes and tell them the truth about why you won’t let them be fathers,” Livni said. “Stop lying and tell the truth. What did you think to yourself when you put on makeup, sat before the camera and lied? The truth is you are consistent on only one thing: your ability to lie without blinking, when you know you won’t keep your promise.”
Livni told Netanyahu that he is responsible for the development of the culture of lies in Israel, and not just in politics. She told the prime minister she hoped he tells the truth when he is questioned by police in his criminal probes.
Netanyahu explained that he supports the bill but has no majority for it in his coalition. While Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay pledged his 24 MKs to pass the bill, Netanyahu prefers to pass bills when they have his coalition’s support.
“I heard the stories of gay couples and men about their desire to have kids, to form families,” he said. “I support it, but at this moment I have no majority in the coalition to pass it. When I have the majority, I will pass the bill.”
Earlier, in the debate on German and Shmuli’s bills, United Torah Judaism leader Ya’acov Litzman attacked Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and called him a pathological liar.
“As finance minister, you did nothing for the public,” Litzman told Lapid. “All you know how to do it fight with the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) and to be a television star.”
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