In a precedent setting decision, Yonatan Gher, Executive Director of NIF grantee Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance (JOH), has been granted paid paternity leave by the Israeli government’s National Insurance Institute (NII).
Gher, who worked for Greenpeace before becoming head of JOH last spring, immigrated to Israel with his parents from New York City when he was a baby. "My partner and I have moved to Jerusalem where I grew up," said Gher. "I want my son to have the upbringing that I had in Jerusalem with its unique atmosphere and social diversity."
Yonatan Gher his partner and his newborn son.
Gher, who is being represented by NIF grantee New Family: Organization for Family Rights, had expected a legal battle with NII, but to his surprise the application was approved. By law Israeli parents (either a mother or father but only one) are entitled to 14 weeks paid leave of absence from work after the birth of a child and a further 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
This latest breakthrough follows precedent setting victories concerning same-sex parents won by the NIF family. In 2007, the Supreme Court instructed the Interior Ministry to register 11 year-old Matan Brenner-Kadish as the son of lesbian couple Nicole and Ruth Brenner-Kadish, who were represented by flagship NIF grantee Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). In February 2008, Attorney General Meni Mazuz ordered the Interior Ministry to register the partner of a man who had adopted a baby outside of Israel as the child's second parent. The two fathers were represented by New Family.