Israeli army allows gay partners to defer military service

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The IDF has begun allowing same-sex partners to defer if they are called up for military service at the same time.

The new rules apply to couples who have children, whether the couple are married or not.

If they are recognised as raising a child together by the National Insurance Institute (NII), regardless of legal status as parents, then they will be allowed to request that they serve at different times.

However, single fathers are not automatically able to postpone service, unlike single mothers. Applications by single fathers are judged individually.

LGBT specialist lawyer Michal Eden told Haaretz that while the new rules marked some progress, not all couples would be protected, as not all would choose to register with the NII.

She said: “Because the rights of men and women are not equal in the National Insurance Institute, the couple can suffer damage.”

Israel is debating updating its surrogacy laws to include gay couples after many couples and their children had to be evacuated from Nepal after the earthquake last month. They had travelled to Nepal as they were unable to access surrogacy services in Israel.

Members of the Israeli AIDS task force recently stripped off to encourage testing for HIV.