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Israel’s top companies join strike to protest anti-LGBTI surrogacy laws

Israel’s top companies join strike to protest anti-LGBTI surrogacy laws

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Some of Israel’s biggest companies have thrown their support behind the LGBTI community’s planned national day of strike.

The day of strike comes after last weekend’s massive street protests over revisions in a surrogacy bill that gave rights to single women but failed to include LGBTI couples. The strike is planned for Sunday (22 July).

It is the first time the LGBTI community has ordered a strike in Israel.

The country’s LGBT Task Force, the Aguda, said it was ‘our turn to say no’.

‘The gay community is going on strike! Lesbian women cannot register their children, transgender people are getting stabbed in the street, youths are experiencing LGBT-phobia in educational frameworks, the Knesset (parliament) passes laws against equality – we will not continue our lives as usual, we will not allow bullying against the transgender community, the youths of the LGBT community and its members in the peripheries,’ it wrote on Facebook.

Many major companies have said they will allow their workers to strike on Sunday. The companies are some of the biggest in Israel including; food companies Tnuva and Osem, pharmaceutical company Teva, communications companies Bezeq, Cellcom, Yes and Hot, and credit card companies Leumi Card and Isracard.

Israel’s third-largest airline, Israir Airlines, said it would allow staff to wear black on Sunday to show solidarity with strikers.

Facebook and Microsoft

Multinational companies have also publicly stated their support for the strike. Facebook and IBM are two of the most recognizable brands supporting the strike.

But tech companies Microsoft and Mellanox have gone one step further than just supporting the strike.

Both have offered to financially support staff who want to try surrogacy.

‘The current version of the surrogacy law excludes the LGBT community and deprives them of the basic and human right to establish a family. This is an unfortunate and unequal law,’ Microsoft said in a statement.

‘From now on, every employee who decides to start a family by surrogacy will receive NIS 60,000 (US$16,400), regardless of gender, sector, sexual orientation, age or marital status.’

Mellanox plans to offer the same amount of money as well as paternity and maternity leave for surrogate parents.

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