Israel went on a nationwide strike on Sunday over a new law denying surrogacy to gay couples, with the support of a trade union and hundreds of local and international firms.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people (LGBT) called for the one-day strike after the Knesset (parliament) passed on Wednesday a law that allows surrogacy for single women unable to conceive, without allowing the same right to single gay men or couples.
Before the new legislation, only heterosexual couples could use a surrogate.
The LGBT community calls the government to amend the law so it will include also single gay men and couples.
On Sunday evening, tens of thousands of people from the LGBT community and supporters are planned to rally the Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv.
The Histadrut, Israel’s main trade union, said it supports the strike and called employers throughout the country to back employees who want to take part in the strike.
Many firms followed and announced their support in the strike and in employees who want to join it, including the local branches of Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, eBay, Novartis, Procter and Gamble, Loreal, in addition to hundreds of local banks, large industries, chain stores, law and advertisement firms, media outlets, shops and restaurants.
The municipality of Tel Aviv, Israel’s liberal financial capital, and some three other municipalities also announced their support, in addition to main universities and colleges.
“We decided to take gloves off,” said Chen Arieli, chairwoman of the LGBT Association. “When we initially announced the strike, we hadn’t imagined the magnitude of the support that we would receive from the Israeli public,” she told Hebrew-language Ynet news site. “This is a struggle not only for the LGBT community, it’s a struggle for our country,” she said.