Coronavirus leaves one-month-old baby stranded

Gay couple says Israel won’t let them come home with their surrogate child.

Roi Grufi with baby Achinoam (photo credit: HALEL MORAN)
Roi Grufi with baby Achinoam
(photo credit: HALEL MORAN)
An Israeli gay couple and their one-month-old surrogate baby daughter cannot get back into Israel, they say.
Halel Moran, Roi Grufi and baby Achinoam are currently in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The couple, who live in Jerusalem, flew to the United States along with Moran’s mother in mid-February ahead of the long awaited birth of their first child, who arrived on February 29. Since then, coronavirus has become a worldwide crisis that they say has ultimately led to their not being able to return to the country.
Achinoam isn’t “technically” an Israeli citizen and Israel’s borders have been closed to non-citizens and non-permanent residents since mid-March – unless they can prove that they have a place to quarantine. Moreover, in this couple’s case, they also have to prove that the baby is theirs. 
They said that despite having the results from an American DNA test validated by a Virginia court as proof of fatherhood, the Interior Ministry only recognizes its own tests. 
In order for Achinoam to become an Israeli citizen, she would need to be issued an Israeli passport. To get a passport, they need to travel to the Washington embassy to take a DNA test there. After that, they need to wait for the test to be sent to Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, to be assessed and then approved for a court order, and then finally returned to the US so a passport can be issued.
A US passport is not an option because the office that would provide that is currently closed. The Israeli process, without coronavirus, would likely take several weeks. Now, it could take months.
“The process took us about three years,” Moran told The Jerusalem Post regarding the surrogacy, noting that it also cost a lot of money. Now, this new step is causing the couple a lot of angst.
How and when will they be allowed to come back to Israel? As the situation worsens in the US, will the government step up and help their fellow citizens? Will they make a special exception and grant Achinoam, a little baby, a certificate of passage?
“It's not really a problem to approve a passage certificate... if the Interior Ministry wanted to help us, it would have been done in two or three days,” Moran said in a Channel 13 interview earlier this week. 
He added that, “we are very stressed” because they are unable to take care of the vaccinations that Achinoam needs. 
Moran took to Facebook to voice his frustration with this situation. 
“But Israel, ohh Israel... what a fun and supportive country,” he wrote. “Not only do you trouble us gays who need to bring children from the other side of the world, but now you also don’t let us return.” 
They said there are other gay couples who find themselves in a similar situation – they estimate that there are around 30 of them.
The Post reached out to the Population and Immigration Authority, which responded with the following statement: “This is a complex issue. Among other things, it is not regulated by legislation, and the government ministries are trying to help find solutions within existing policies, legislation and local law in which the surrogacy process is carried out.”
In the meantime, the family has no way home.