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Israeli girl wins court pay-out after mum's lesbian partner dies in fire

A court appeals committee instructed Israel's defense ministry to compensate a 3 year-old girl who lost her lesbian mother's partner in a fire incident

Israeli girl wins court pay-out after mum's lesbian partner dies in fire

A court appeals committee set a legal precedent, instructing Israel’s defense ministry to  compensate a three year-old girl who lost her mother’s female partner.

The court decision recognized yesterday (13 February) the late Faviola Bohadana, as the girl’s step-parent, overruling a refusal by Israel’s defines ministry.

The girl’s biological mother, Rahel Algavassi, has been in a lesbian relationship with Bohadana for five years prior to her death during a large scale fire incident in December 2010.

Israeli already recognizes cohabitting same-sex couples, as well as gay marriage performed abroad.

According to Haaretz, the court ordered the ministry not only to recognise the couple but to pay the girl, Julie, compensation, as it is paying Bohadana’s two biological children.

The Israeli finance ministry recognized Julie as the couple’s mutual daughter a year and a half ago, entitling her to a surviving relative’s allowance.

Nearly four years ago, following the two women’s joint decision, Algavassi became pregnant by the father of Bohadana’s two children and gave birth to Julie.”¨

The defense ministry argued that following Bohadana’s death that the child was not entitled to compensation because she had a father and mother and was not Bohadana’s biological child.

Algavassi appealed against the decision, stating that Julie was also Bohadana’s daughter and was dependet on her economically.

Judge Shlomit Jakubowicz, head of the appeals panel, ruled that Julie was undoubtedly the late Bohadana’s stepchild.

She also ruled that the two women ran a joint household and the child was ‘dependent’ on Bohadana at the time of the prison guard’s death, although she was also supported by her biological father.

The judge accepted the appeal, revoked the defense ministry’s decision and instructed it to give Julie all the rights of a deceased parent’s child.

In addition Jakubowicz charged the ministry with NIS 10,000 in court expenses and legal fees.

Commenting on the verdict, attorney Michal Eden, who represented Algavassi, said: ‘Justice has been done.

‘The judge ruled that even a non-biological child is eligible for recognition and compensation when a soldier falls in battle. Now the family can mourn the mother’s loss in peace’.

Algavassi told Haaretz: ‘The woman I’m supposed to share this joy with is gone.

‘My smile is mingled with tears. Justice has been done. I’m very happy the court was open to this other kind of family. The Defense Ministry was obstinate and mistaken all the way’.

In a conversation with GSN Eden stated that ‘this is an important decision for the gay community in Israel, and in particular to LGBT families – the court’s ruling sets out a legal precedent’.

Speaking with GSN, Shai Doitsh, chair of The Agugda, Israel’s main LGBT movement, said: ‘It is very regrettable that in 2013 an appeals panel is needed for the Israeli state to recognize such a basic right.

‘There is no doubt that the struggle for the recognition of a proud family, of its many forms, as an equal family is of crucial importance.

‘The Aguda will continue in the coming years to fight for this right until we achieve legal equality and that Israel’s society accepts that LGBT families are an integral part of its make up’. 

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