TEL AVIV – In a first, a single member of Israel’s Knesset announced she is pregnant with a baby fathered by a gay friend.
Meirav Ben-Ari (Kulanu) made her announcement to Ynet ahead of the Jewish new year, saying she didn’t want rumors spreading that she had accidentally fallen pregnant.
Ben Ari, 40, was elected to the Knesset for the first time in 2015 and has since passed six bills. She told Ynet that political life has hindered her personal life.
Two years ago, she came to the conclusion that she was ready to start a family. She proposed the idea to a close gay friend, Ofir, 41, who works at a senior position at a financial firm and is in a relationship with another man.
“Two years ago I told my mother that I don’t have anything of my own. I don’t have a home—I was the only one in the Kulanu Party to register for (Finance Minister Moshe) Kahlon’s initiative in the Ministry of Construction and Housing, I don’t have a car—since mine belongs to the Knesset—and I don’t have a child,” she said.
“So I spoke to Ofir, a good friend of mine who’s also a wise, gay man with a great deal of spirit, and I told him, ‘Let’s have a kid and raise him,’ and Ofir said yes. I’m coming out with all this to inspire and give courage to other women, to give them the strength not to give up on their right to have children, even if they don’t have a partner,” she added.
Ben-Ari said that Moshe Kahlon, the head of the Kulanu party, was fully supportive of her decision, joking that if anyone asked, she should say he’s the father.
She said that watching her friends well entrenched in family life made her realize time was not on her side.
“I started getting nervous that I was going to miss my chance, but at the same time it’s hard to reach a point where you know that if you don’t act now, you’re going to miss out. Because we all walk around with this dream of meeting a knight, falling in love and walking into the sunset together.
“Of having a kid with a mommy and daddy and marriage. But at some point you need to wake up and realize that knights can mainly be found on television,” she said.
She expressed her hope that somewhere down the line marriage would still be in the cards for her.
More and more women in Israel are choosing to become single mothers, even among the more religiously observant community. The Jerusalem-based KayamaMoms was founded in 2011 to assist religious women choosing to go it alone.