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May 20, 2015 12:54 pm

Gay Couples Included in New IDF Policy to Protect Children of Enlisted Soldiers

avatar by Matti Bernhardt / Tazpit News Agency

Tel Aviv's LGBT pride parade on June 7, 2013. Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv.

Gay and straight couples with children will no longer have to deal with situations where both parents are enlisted for reserve service. The IDF recently decided to form special committees to deal with this problem, according to the IDF Reserves Corps.

The committees will communicate between units to make sure kids have a parent at home, which will therefore prevent situations where both parents are enlisted. The committees will also prevent the enlistment of single mothers with young children.

The decision came after discussions with an Israeli LGBT group called The Israeli Gay Fathers Association.

“During Operation Protective Edge, many couples were enlisted for reserve forces at the same time. They did want to contribute, [but] they saw that there was no arrangement for their kids,” a spokesman for the Israeli Gay Fathers Association told Tazpit News Agency.

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“We decided to turn to the IDF, who immediately cooperated. We held a few meetings in which the army showed a willingness to solve the problem. Parents can’t leave their kids alone. It took a while until the army figured out a solution, and they eventually decided to form the special committees.”

Israelis who are eligible for reserve duty might serve as much as a month a year, or even more once they complete their mandatory army service. During this time, Israelis are away from their homes, jobs, and families. In some situations, a reservist might only get leave for two days during an entire month.

The decision represents a strengthening of the IDF’s policy of protecting gay rights. The Israeli army has been one of the first in the world to allow openly gay people to serve, and has held that policy since 1993. The IDF also recognizes same sex spouses of deceased soldiers as “military widows.”

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