Bill to allow parents to use sperm of fallen IDF soldiers passes first reading

A month after the Continuity Bill was voted down, it has now passed a preliminary reading by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

 Nitza Shmueli, MK Hauser, Baruch Ben Yigal following the passing of the bill (photo credit: Dani Shem Tov)
Nitza Shmueli, MK Hauser, Baruch Ben Yigal following the passing of the bill
(photo credit: Dani Shem Tov)

A bill that would allow bereaved parents of soldiers to use the sperm of their dead children has passed a preliminary reading in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, giving hope to parents fighting to become grandparents.

The proposed bill, known as the continuity bill, was approved by a consensus of 52 in favor.

It will give soldiers the option to give their written permission to retrieve their sperm should they perish. The spouse or parents of a fallen soldier can request to retrieve the sperm within 72 hours of his death.

The bill also stipulates that any child born to a fallen soldier would not be viewed as an IDF orphan and the mother will not receive benefits that are given to children whose parent died during military service. It also regulates the arrangement of families who have retrieved the sperm before the bill becomes law.

It is an important bill, New Hope MK Zvi Hauser said, adding that “it is the moral and ethical duty of a state that sends its best sons to protect its security” to provide the widest envelope of support to families.”

“In the 21st century, this envelope should also include the possibility of realizing the will of every human being to use existing technologies to ensure their ability to produce offspring,” he said. “Today, we took a step in which the Knesset began to regulate the issue according to law and not leave it to a case-by-case scenario; we will do so with the necessary sensitivity.”

 BATSHEVA COHEN (left) and Or Lamishpachot Association head Irit Oren Gunders. (credit: OR LAMISHPACHOT ASSOCIATION) BATSHEVA COHEN (left) and Or Lamishpachot Association head Irit Oren Gunders. (credit: OR LAMISHPACHOT ASSOCIATION)

The initiative is also being promoted by Or Lamishpachot (Light for Families), a nonprofit organization for families of fallen soldiers run by Irit Oren Gunders. There are more than 1,500 families involved with the organization who meet several times a year, including those who are involved in passing the bill into law.

“After years of hard work, we see the light at the end of the dark tunnel where bereaved parents who have already lost all hope of becoming grandparents find themselves,” Gunders said. “We say that it is the right of the families of the fallen to realize the dream and embrace a grandson from their son’s seed.”

She thanked those involved in passing the bill and said it was a “milestone in doing justice” to bereaved families and to “parents who sent their sons to military service and did not see them return.”

Gunders told The Jerusalem Post she is working with several families on the initiative, including Nitza Shmueli, whose son, Barel Hadaria Shmueli, was killed by a Hamas terrorist during a violent riot along the Gaza border last year.

Shmueli also retrieved her son’s sperm and is taking part in the fight to get the bill passed.

Baruch Ben Yigal’s son, St.-Sgt. Amit Ben Yigal, was killed during an arrest raid in the West Bank village of Yabad two years ago. He retrieved his son’s sperm shortly after he died, with the intent of using it to become a grandfather, he told the Post in a recent interview.

“The terrorist stopped me from being a parent, but I do not want him to stop me from being a grandparent,” he said.

Ben Yigal said he has the names and contact information of 182 women from across the country who want to be the mother, and the only reason they have not moved forward is that the state is stopping him.

On Wednesday, following the bill’s passage, Ben Yigal said he was finally smiling because the MKs had given him the chance of life again.

“Thank you for choosing life,” he said. “I am finally smiling.”