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LGBT rights in Israel, contrary to the predominating myth, are a result of a common gradual process of the Knesset, the Government (particularly the Attorney General) and the courts.

Since the cancellation of the ban of sodomy in 1988, a long process started, within which most laws and regulations that discriminated based on sexual tendency were cancelled.

As elaborated below, today Israel has a general prohibition of discrimination concerning personal rights, and by law, LGBTs are entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals.

The main gaps that currently exist are concerning rights related to personal status and the family cell, such as adoption, surrogates and joint parenthood, transgender rights and the rights of Palestinian LGBTs who are not citizens of Israel.

The right to equality for LGBTs in Israel was first recognized upon the passing of the amendment to the Equal Opportunities in Work Law in 1994, which prohibited discrimination based on sexual tendency.

In the famous Danilovich Case1, the Supreme Court heard the scope of the prohibition of discrimination, and ruled that the discrimination against same-sex couples in any benefit given to couples in the workplace was prohibited.

The Court was also divided in that case over whether the prohibition of discrimination was limited only to cases of discrimination at work, as the then President Barak stated, or whether there was a general prohibition of discrimination in Israeli law, as Justice Dorner held.

This issue was resolved in the Open House Case2, in which it was ruled that prohibition of discrimination due to sexual tendency was a constitutional prohibition of discrimination, meaning that it applied to legislative acts and any action of a public body.

Alongside this, the Prohibition of Discrimination in Products, Services and Entry to Public Places Law, 5761-2000 expanded the effect of the prohibition of discrimination to any privately owned place giving service to the public, such as a store, club or business.

The Court ruled that this prohibition of discrimination supersedes any argument of inability to provide the service on religious grounds.

Thus, it was ruled that a banquet hall managed by religious parties is not allowed not to provide services to lesbian couples3, it was ruled that a newspaper is not allowed to abstain from publishing a notice intended for the LGBT public due to the religious character of the newspaper,4 and so on.

It was also ruled by the Supreme Court that the constitutional right to equality prohibits discrimination both based on sexual tendency and based on gender identity.5 Since the passing of the amendment to the Equal Opportunities in Work Law, many other legislative amendments have been passed prohibiting discrimination in different contexts, such as medical care (Amendment 4 to the Patient’s Rights Law, 5756-1996), the Employment Service Law (Amendment No.

20 to the Employment Service Law, 5719-1959) and others.

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