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Israel – SOGI Legislation Country Report (2013)


The Israeli Penal Code (1977) sets the age of consent for same-sex sexual relations involving any kind of penetration as 16 (the same as the age of consent for opposite-sex sexual relations involving any kind of penetration).

Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act (1998) prohibits sexual harassment, which includes insulting a person based on his or her sexual preference.

Employment (Equal Opportunities) Law (1988) prohibits discrimination by an employer on the basis of sexual orientation. This includes discrimination with respect to dismissal, advancement, and acceptance.

Israeli law does not permit same-sex marriages to be performed in Israel, but same-sex common law couples enjoy similar spousal benefits as a result of various judicial decisions.

In 2006 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples who were legally married abroad would be recognized in the population registry in Israel as “married” (Ben-Ari v Director of Population Administration). However, the decision also noted that this ruling was not meant to suggest “that marriage between persons of the same sex is recognized in Israel” and that “[they were] not recognizing a new status of such marriages” (paragraph 22).

In 1994 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled employers are required to provide same-sex partners with the same benefits afforded to opposite–sex partners (El-Al Israel Airlines Ltd v Danielowitz). The Supreme Court ruled that “not giving the respondent a free ticket for his same-sex companion amounted to discrimination, since a distinction on the basis of the difference between a heterosexual and a homosexual relationship is unjustified in the context of employee benefits”.

In 2005, the Israel Supreme Court ruled that individuals may adopt the biological child of their same-sex partner (Yaros-Hakak v Attorney General).

In 2011, the Interior Ministry applied the Law of Return (giving Jewish people the right of return and settlement in Israel, with immediate citizenship) to a same-sex couple, allowing the non-Jewish same-sex spouse of a Jewish individual to immigrate to Israel (

In 1993, the Manpower Division Standing Order was amended to allow gay and lesbian individuals to serve openly in the military without restriction on positions they are allowed to hold.

link to full text in PDF: Israel-SOGI Legislation Country Report-2013-eng