Jewish Agency to help its gay employees pay for surrogate services overseas
| Illustrative image of members of the LGBT community and supporters participating in a demonstration against a Knesset bill amendment denying surrogacy for same-sex couples, outside the supreme court in Jerusalem on July 23, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Grant valued at about $11,000, a small portion of the costs; Herzog says policy is ‘symbolic statement’ because agency ‘is one big family, and all its members are equal’
The Jewish Agency for Israel became the first Israeli public institution to grant loans to its employees to pay for surrogacy services abroad.
While the grants are available to all employees, its biggest boon is to gay men, who are barred by law from using surrogates in Israel.
It also will be helpful to some of the 450 Jewish Agency employees, such as Israel emissaries, who spend several years living in a Jewish community abroad.
The grant is valued at about $11,000, which is a small portion of the actual cost of surrogacy abroad. Some Israelis who qualify for surrogacy in Israel also turn to services abroad to speed the process, though Israeli health services do not pay for surrogacy services outside of the country.
The Jewish Agency’s chairman of the executive, Isaac Herzog, said that the organization is “making a symbolic statement, because it reflects the egalitarian stance of a large organization that is recognizing the right of every man or woman to actualize their wish to be parents and to raise a family, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. The Jewish Agency is one big family, and all its members are equal.”
Several Israeli high-tech firms already offer the service.