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Gay Fathers in Israel, in Real Life and in Sitcoms

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The New York Times
|
January 2, 2013

On weeknights at the Gay Center here, a four-story building in the heart of the city, parking a stroller is about as hard as parking a car elsewhere in town, which is to say, nearly impossible. The tyke-sized traffic jam is one indication of the gay baby boom that has taken place across Israel, in the last several years. “A kid last week said to another kid, ‘I have two moms,’ ” recalled Idan Netzer, who oversees the center’s preschool, which opened in November. “And the other kid said: ‘So what? Daniel in my kindergarten has two moms too.’ ” It’s been a big year for gay parents in Israel. In May a committee of the Health Ministry recommended that surrogacy be allowed for gay men. (Currently they can only travel abroad for that option.) A month later organizers of Tel Aviv Pride, one of the city’s largest annual events, splashed images of two real-life gay fathers and their children on publicity materials and a banner next to Town Hall, making them the faces of the festivities. But the societal change really hit home with the premiere in November of “Mom and Dads,” a series on the cable channel Hot. This comic drama, starring three of Israel’s most popular actors, is about a gay couple raising a child with a single woman.