Fighting for rights of the LGBTQ community, is prevalent no matter where you are in the world. While you may come to expect that fight to be a little more difficult in some places, you find yourself shocked when you learn that the road to equal rights is still bumpy in places where you considered to be more progressive.
Guy Sadaka and Hai Aviv are the fathers of 2-year-old twins, and as they were in the process of enrolling their kids in preschool, they decided to apply for a government tuition assistance program. The Ministry of Labor and Social Services is the government entity that provided the assistance. As they made a call to apply, they were surprised when they were told by the agent, who answered the call, that one of them would have to declare that they were the mother on the application.
The two had been together for 12 years. As they tried to clear up the confusion and explain the situation to the agent, the agent responded by telling them, "I understand that you are both fathers and that you run a shared household, but there is always the one who is more dominant, and one who is more ‘the mother'." As if this wasn't shocking enough for the couple, the agent went on to say, "I am just asking for a written statement declaring which of you is the mother;" in regards to work, "who works less than the father? Like in a normal family.”
Sadaka who initiated the call, said that the agent seemed embarrassed by the line of questioning and she referred to the questions as archaic. She also seemed sympathetic to his dismay and explained to him that the questions were not created by her department, but instead by the Ministry of Economy. He was also sympathetic to her, and in an interview with NBC News, he said, “It kind of made me laugh. But this ignorance in a government office when it’s just about 2020 just seems crazy to me. I felt frustrated that I have to give answers that don’t make any sense.”
Since this insane line of questioning was revealed, the ministry has issued an apology and said that they would update their procedures at their call center to prevent the same thing from happening again. A representative from the ministry issued a statement saying, “We emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs' practices explicitly treat all types of families and grant equal rights to all.”
Israel is known for being one of the most gay-friendly countries in the Middle East, but this occurrence makes people wonder if they actually have a focus on equality for all or just tolerant towards the LGBTQ community. The ministry approved the application for tuition assistance for Sadaka, Aviv and their twins, but their ordeal has shown that while this country that has come so far, still has quite a way to go.