LGBT activists protest in Tel Aviv over same-sex surrogacy legislation

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv after legislation that would have allowed same-sex couples to have a child via surrogacy was voted down.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voted against a clause to the surrogacy bill that would have extended eligibility to same-sex couples, which he had previously voiced support for in a video posted to social media this week.

The bill allows single women to be surrogates and previously it only allowed heterosexual married couples to use surrogacy.

The clause was proposed by MK Amir Ohana, an openly gay members of Netanyahu’s Likud party.

“Contrary to what was reported, I am entirely consistent on the issue of surrogacy. I support surrogacy for both mothers and fathers,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

“Today, we voted for the bill for mothers. I told MK Ohana in advance that I would not support his revision, as he has submitted to this bill, since it will topple this bill and then mothers would not receive surrogacy [rights].”

On Twitter, Netanyahu said he would support a clause allowing single fathers to be surrogates if it was put to the Knesset, Israel’s legislative body.

Revellers celebrate along a sea side avenue in Tel Aviv during the Israeli city's annual Gay Pride parade on June 8, 2018. - Tens of thousands of people gathered along the beach in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv for the largest Gay Pride event in the Middle East. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Attendees enjoy the 2018 Tel Aviv Pride parade (GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty)

The Likud party said in a statement: “Prime Minister Netanyahu voted today for the surrogacy law for single mothers, because it is a bill that was supported by the coalition and takes an important step forward in support of single mothers.”

Israel’s LGBT Task Force has called on members to strike in response to the vote.

“We call on members of the community to be absent from work, to close their businesses and take part in public protests,” the group said, Haaretz reported.

Participants take part in the annual Gay Pride parade in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, on June 9, 2017. Tens of thousands of revellers from Israel and abroad packed the streets of Tel Aviv for the city's annual Gay Pride march, billed as the Middle East's biggest. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Pride in Tel Aviv (Getty)

MK Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party, called the prime minister a “liar” in a statement.

“Two days ago during a Likud faction meeting Netanyahu said that he supports a change in the bill to enable LGBT people to become parents,” he said.

“On the same day, he posted a video in which he repeated — both in words and in writing — his commitment to support the change.

“I have never said this before about a prime minister of Israel, but I have no choice: liar.”