Hundreds of writers, poets, playwrights, screenwriters and members of Israel’s arts and letters community call upon Benjamin Netanyahu and the Knesset – Repeal the Nation-State Law and the amendment to the Surrogacy Law at once!

Hundreds of writers, poets, playwrights, screenwriters and members of Israel’s arts and letters community issued a dramatic call this evening to the Prime minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, to repeal the Nation-State Law and the amendment to the Surrogacy Law, which discriminates against Israel’s LGBTQ community. The public statement was initiated and set in motion by Israeli gay writer Ilan Sheinfeld, a father of twins who were born through surrogacy in India and currently a resident of Tuval in the Galilee.

“The public statement that I formulated knowingly and deliberately links the opposition to the Nation-State Law with the opposition to the Surrogacy Law,” said Ilan Sheinfeld. “As I see it, Israel’s LGBTQ community, in its efforts that transcend borders and sectors of the population, and that continue to receive unprecedented support from all strata of Israel’s public, has kindled a struggle that is far greater than the Surrogacy Law itself. It is the struggle for equal rights and mutual responsibility in Israel. Sharing in that struggle are all of the weak and excluded sectors of Israeli society, including the members of the LGBTQ community and everyone who has been harmed by the Nation-State Law. This was also the rationale behind the phrasing of the public statement, which was shortened on the recommendation of David Grossman and with the assistance of Navit Barel and Eshkol Nevo. I thank all those who assisted me in obtaining signatures for the public statement in the course of this weekend, including Tamar Peleg, Nira Tuval, Adiva Geffen, Yair Ben-Chaim, Eshkol Nevo, Zeruya Shalev, Idit Shchori, Prof. Gad Kaynar-Kissinger, Orna Akad, and many others. Thanks also to Amit Alexander Lev-Brinker and Sharon Neeman for the translation into English, and to Michal Sela and Gal Amir for the translation into Arabic.”

In the public statement, which was issued in Hebrew, English and Arabic to all of the local and foreign media, the signers wrote:

To: Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

Members of the Knesset

July 27, 2018

Dear Mr. Prime Minister and members of the Knesset:,

Public Statement

We – writers, screenwriters, playwrights, academic  scholars and members of Israel's  arts and letters community – would like to express to you our utmost shock and dismay, in light of the recent laws passed by the Israeli Knesset under your leadership, first and foremost the Nation-State Law and the Surrogacy Law.

According to a  law recently passed by the Knesset and entitled “Israel: The Nation State of the Jewish People”, Israel is now defined as a nation-state for Jews only. This is a Basic Law, with quasi-constitutional status, that explicitly allows racial and religious discrimination, rescinds the status of Arabic as an official language alongside Hebrew, does not mention democracy as the basis of the regime, and does not mention equality as a core value. As such, this Basic Law is undemocratic and runs counter to the definition of the State of Israel as a democratic state; moreover, it contradicts the Declaration of Independence, based on which Israel was founded. These are two things no Knesset has a right to do.

The Knesset also amended the Surrogacy Law, when it extended the list of people who are eligible to receive the services of a surrogate child-bearer, to include single women who have a medical condition preventing them from having a child, but excluded single men and gay couples.

Those two laws exclude Christian and Muslim Arabs (including Bedouin), Druze and Circassians, and violate the LGBTQ community’s right for parenthood. They are part of a long list of actions by the various governments of the State of Israel that you have headed, from 1996 to 1999 and from 2009 to this day, and have unjustly penalized the most excluded and disadvantaged sectors in both Jewish and Israeli society, including Reform and Conservative Judaism, the Arab (including Bedouin), Druze and Circassian minorities, the sick and elderly, Holocaust survivors and differently-abled people, single women, Ethiopian Jews and many more.

During your years in office, you and those governments have persistently eroded the foundations of our Jewish-democratic country. You have damaged the relations between Israel and United States Jewry; you have sentenced huge populations to continued poverty and hardship; and you have knowingly and purposely damaged Israel's education system, public diplomacy, culture and economy, defense and welfare.

By doing so, you have done severe harm to Israeli society. But the most severe damage has affected the values of equality and mutual responsibility, on which Israel's society is based and from which it draws its strength.

We demand that you immediately repeal the Nation-State Law, which has created a rift between Israeli society and United States Jewry; discriminates against Arabs (including Bedouin), Druze and Circassians; and damages the coexistence of Israel's Jewish majority with its minorities. Moreover, we demand your immediate response to the call for equality on behalf of the members of the LGBTQ community. It is unthinkable for the State of Israel to stand between a person and that person's natural desire to become a parent and to establish a family.

Felonies and misdemeanors properly defined as such by law fall under the jurisdiction of a court. On the other hand, sins that are infamously written into the law itself by the elected lawmakers – sins that undermine the core of the Jewish people’s existence and its homeland – must be judged by intellectuals and by the court of history.

Please stop your government and coalition members from scourging minorities that create the colorful mosaic that is Israeli society and help to guarantee its existence. Do it now!

In witness whereof we have affixed our signatures (in alphabetical order):

Akad  Orna
Alkalay-Gut Prof. Karen
Arad Roy Chicky
Ariel Dr. Nana
Assouline Tamir
Atzmon  Yaniv
Azoulay-Hasfari Hanna
Baikin-O’hayon Tom
Bar  Alon
Barel  Navit
Barir  Idan
Baskin  Sivan
Baumgarten Daniel
Ben-Chaim Yair
Ben-Dor Yocheved
Ben-Dov Prof. Nitza
Ben-Moshe Yakir
Ben-Yair Sigal
Bernheimer  Avner
Brown-Elkeles  Tami
Castel-Bloom  Orly
Chen  Roy
Citron  Prof. Atay
Cohen  Eliaz
Cohen-Assif  Shlomit
Daskal  Riki
Dayan  Yael
Dovrat  Yair
Eitan Zohar
Elharar Regev
Elior Prof. Rachel
Eliya-Cohen Iris
Eliyahu Eli
Feigenbaum  Mitchell
G. Haim  Esti
G. Peleg  Dana
Galil  Lilach
Galili  Mordechai
Gaon Rosenblum  Orna
Geffen  Adiva
Geldman  Mordechai
Ginosar  Varda
Gluzman  Prof. Michael
Goldring  Noga
Granot  Lior
Grossman  David
Grossman  Hagit
Haski  Shlomi
Hass  Amira
Hatzor  Ilan
Herzog  Omri
Hess  Dr. Tamar
Hilu  Alon
Hirschfeld  Prof. Ariel
Holzberg  Avshalom
Horowitz  Revital
Itamar Yoav
Kahansky Eshel Inbal
Karp Rozenfeld  Tamar
Kartun-Blum  Prof. Ruth
Katz  Yoav
Katzir  Judith
Kaynar Kissinger  Prof. Gad
Keret  Etgar
Kimchi  Avichai
Kun  Uriel
Lazar  Hadara
Lerner  Motti
Lev Adler  Anat
Liebrecht  Savyon
Medini  Yael
Meiri  Dr. Gilad
Meshulam Levy  Meirav
Milk  Loren
Milstein  Avishai
Mishol  Agi
Mishori  Dr. Efrat
Mittelpunkt  Hillel
Moskovitz-Weiss  Ela
Nagid  Dr. Chayim
Naveh  Prof. Hannah
Netzer  Ruth
Nir  Zvika
Nissim  Meital
Nitzán  Tal
Oz  Amos
Oz  Daniel
Oz  Gallia
Oz-Salzberger  Prof. Fania
Peled  Oded
Peretz-Schwartz  Galit
Perry  Prof. Menachem
Pessach  Chaim
Rattok  Prof. Lily
Ratzabi  Prof. Shalom
Regner  Agi
Rogel  Mayan
Ron  Prof. Moshe
Ronen  Dr. Diti
Rotbart  Oz
Schwartz  Prof. Yigal
Shachar  Yudit
Shalita  Rachel
Sharoor  Tzipi
Shchori  Daphna
Shchori  Idit
Sheinfeld  Ilan
Shemesh  Edna
Shir  Smadar
Shmueloff  Matti
Shpin-Gross  Varda
Someck  Ronny
Sucari  Yossi
Tevet Dayan  Maya
Tomer  Eli
Tuval  Nira
Tzelgov  Eran
Vig  Shoshana
Waxman  Yossi
Weichert  Prof. Rafi
Weisman  Dorit
Weiss  Prof. Meira
Weiss  Tali
Wolkstein  Dr. Oded
Yavin  Jonathan
Yehoshua  A.B.
Yeshurun  Halit
Yonatan  Ziv
Zeffren  Ilana
Zilberman  Dr. Dorit

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One thought on “Hundreds of writers, poets, playwrights, screenwriters and members of Israel’s arts and letters community call upon Benjamin Netanyahu and the Knesset – Repeal the Nation-State Law and the amendment to the Surrogacy Law at once!

  1. Hi Ilan. Please give credit where it is due – I offered to help translate into Arabic, but Michal did the actual work… Please ammend. And once again – congrats. Great move. I hope this really moves something.

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