Israel and Russia have signed a deal banning LGBT+ people from adopting Russian children, after a decade of negotiations.
The agreement, signed on January 22, stipulates that same-sex couples cannot adopt children from Russia.
Ze’ev Elkin, Jerusalem affairs minister, met with a senior Russian delegation Wednesday ahead of president Vladimir Putin’s scheduled Thusday visit to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum.
The senior Russian delegation included Russia’s foreign minister, economics minister and education minister, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Israel and Russia finalised two agreements at the meeting, one on same-sex adoption and the other regarding cooperation between the two countries’ foreign ministries. The adoption agreement is in accordance with Russian law and prevents LGBT+ couples from adopting Russian children.
Multiple Israeli lawmakers – including chairman of left-wing party Meretz, Nitzan Horowitz – expressed outrage at the agreement.
Horowitz said the deal was “a spit in the face of the LGBT community”.
He added: “Netanyahu is getting in line with Putin’s homophobic policies and once again trampling the basic rights of hundreds of thousands of citizens of Israel who are members of the gay community.”
Eitan Ginzburg, of new liberal party the Blue and White MK, said: “The Netanyahu government is preventing us from being parents…. This is a continuation of Israel’s discriminatory policies.”
Minister Elkin also discussed economic cooperation and trade, which recently passed $5 billion per year between the two countries, as well as the possibility of a Russia-Israel free-trade agreement.
In September 2019, two gay dads fled Russia because they were afraid their children would be taken away from them.
Andrei Vaganov and Evgeny Erofeyev said they were forced to flee Russia after the government began investigating their family when it discovered that their two sons did not have a mother.This came six years after Russia introduced what has become known as the “gay propaganda” law, which bans the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations to minors”.
Human rights organisations have been highly critical of the discriminatory law and have said that it is exacerbating hostility towards minority groups.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia has violated the rights of its LGBT+ citizens on three occasions since the law was introduced.