Israel’s deputy education minister, Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home), caused a brief media storm last week when he insisted that same-sex couples that have one way or another obtained a child do not constitute a proper family.
Wortzman was speaking at a conference on child welfare at Ben Gurion University when he was asked to comment on a recent complaint by a male homosexual couple that was denied tax breaks to help with the care of their child.
The couple in question had received a letter from Israel’s Tax Authority informing them that if they wanted the specified tax breaks, they should “find a wife.”
Wortzman said he agreed with the Tax Authority’s response, because in his view, “a family is a father, mother, and child, and not two fathers and a child.”
The remarks elicited angry responses from liberal left-wing members of the government and the opposition.
“You won’t define what a family is,” Member of Knesset Adi Kol (Yesh Atid) shouted in direct response to Wortzman.
Dror Mizrahi, chairman of the far-left opposition Meretz party’s LGBT forum, demanded that the government sack Wortzman over his views.
“The Israeli government needs to condemn Wortzman’s remarks and remove him from any position with an educational component,” Mizrahi insisted. “Wortzman is not the only one in his party holding these sort of medieval opinions that view the family unit through archaic and outdated eyes.”
Israel is widely acknowledged as one of the more “gay-friendly” countries outside of the US and Europe, and the IDF has ranked as one of the top 10 most tolerant armies toward homosexual recruits. Nevertheless, the Israeli government, which also represents a large conservative and religious population, is wary of officially recognizing “gay rights.”