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

מודעות פרסומת

A Letter to Mr. Ali Khamenei

41 years ago, in November 1977, the Egyptian President Sadat's visited Israel. According to Wikipedia, It was a historic event that brought about a turning point in Israeli-Egyptian relations and opened a new era in the history of the Middle East. Sadat spoke in the Knesset plenum and met with all the Knesset factions. Through Sadat's visit, Sadat embarked on a process of peace with Israel, culminating in the signing of the Camp David Accords, which paved the way for the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Sadat, together with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, his partner in the process, won the Nobel Peace Prize.

I remember this event clearly. I was 17 years old then. My high school principal, Uri Ornan, gathered us and asked us what is our opinion on this event. Should we bless it or condemn it in our high school newspaper. Like many other Israelis, we were suspicious, concerning Sadat's motives for his dramatic move. Nevertheless, we blessed it. And we were right to do so because the peace with Egypt is solid. It is a cold stare of peace. Israelis are still not welcomed in Egypt. But the cooperation between the two countries is beneficial for both parties.

Iran and Israel are now in a state of war. We do not want this war. We seek peace. however, we have to confront Iran because of its consolidation in Syria, and Iran's nuclear weapons plan.

You, Mr.Khamenei, are a great opponent of Israel. On 15 December 2000, you called Israel a "cancerous tumor of a state" that "should be removed from the region". You keep on with your morbid and murderous rhetorics, claiming that there is no cure for Israel but its annihilation. Several official Iranian generals and leaders follow you.

I know that you love to read, that you love literature, that you have a special admiration for words. This is the reason I am writing you this letter. Being a writer myself, a Hebrew writer, I understand the power of words. Words can build and words can ruin. Words can make nations happy or miserable. Words can offend or heal.

The war between Israel and Iran has launched months ago and became visible this week. Both states are going to lose a lot during this war. Your economy collapse and your power over the Irani nation is lessening. The US cancellation of the nuclear treaty and the renewal of sanctions against your regime will make things only worse. Iranian people will lose their jobs and their most basic economic and personal security. Israel will have to go under a terrible time but will sustain.

Why don't you launch a surprising peace trip to Israel? I assure you, that the Israeli government and the Israeli nation will be happy to host you here. Once you will be here, and see with your own eyes the modernity and prosperity of Israel, you will understand that you can not beat us, but you can surely gain a lot for your people by signing peace with us. Imagine the economic shift Israel and its allies might bring to Iran, how much of your nation's capital will be free for the welfare of your nation, instead of financing terror and war worldwide. Can you see how warm relations between our countries might bring an amazing cooperation of high tech technology and agriculture, culture and science and many more fields?

We, Israelis, do not want to fight you. We will if we will have to. however, war is not our intent. We love peace, and we want to sustain it. I am a single gay father of twin boys. They are six years old now. Believe me, Mr. Khamenei, I wish they will not be soldiers at all. I want them to live peacefully, and I am sure your people want the same.

Drop your rhetoric, stop the war, come to Israel, and save your regime, and your people, from an unnecessary bloodshed, Amen.