JERUSALEM (JTA) — Supporters of gay couples who are seeking Israeli citizenship for their babies born to surrogate mothers in Thailand demonstrated in front of the Israeli interior minister’s home.
Friends and relatives of the couples launched their protest on Tuesday at the Tel Aviv residence of Gideon Saar. The following day, one parent whose partner has remained in Thailand for the past two months with their newborn twins said he will go on a hunger strike until his babies receive Israeli citizenship.
The couples have 65 born or soon-to-be-born babies in Thailand.
There is a shortage of surrogate mothers in Israel and gay couples in recent years had been encouraged to go abroad.
In Thailand, the birth mothers must sign documents giving up custody of their children before the children may leave the country.
The parents also must have a document from the surrogate mother giving up all rights to the child. Israel will not provide the child with a passport unless the document is presented.
Israeli officials representing several ministries told the Israeli media that only two of the same-sex couples have formally applied for Israeli passports for their babies and they were missing the proper documentation from the birth mothers.
Several Israeli ministries said that if all the paperwork is submitted appropriately, Israeli passports would be issued to the babies, though it is unclear if Thai officials would let the children leave the country.
Activists on behalf of the same-sex families said the families were told that Israeli diplomatic offices could not help them.