Yulia Karra
November 12, 2023

Israel’s Knesset recently passed an amendment that allows recognition of same-sex partners of fallen soldiers as IDF widows or widowers. 

The existing law was amended after criticism from Omer Ohana, whose fiancé — IDF Reserve Captain Sagi Golan — was killed in battle with Hamas on October 7. The commander in Lotar, a special counter-terrorism unit, fell in Kibbutz Be’eri, where around 70 Hamas militants massacred more than 100 civilians. 

Ohana and Golan were scheduled to get married on October 13. Shortly after Golan’s death, Ohana slammed the exclusion of same-sex couples from the Families of Fallen Soldiers Law.

Amir Ohana, the Knesset’s first openly-gay speaker, later urged the government and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to consider amending the legislation, which has not changed since its approval in 1950. 

Earlier this week, the law was finally amended, leaving gender entirely out of the legislation. The amendment allows people whose spouse or partner of the same sex was killed in combat to be eligible for financial compensation and support. 

Omer Ohana personally came to the Knesset to witness the historic vote. 

“As of today, I am an IDF widower,” he said after the vote. “This is a title I would give anything in the world not to have.” 

He added in a message posted on Facebook: “Six days before we were supposed to get married, you went out to save lives and rescue captive families, and fell in battle against brutal terrorists. 

“Today, thanks to you, we have equality in death. We will continue to demand equality in life as well. Sagi, you loved Israel and went out to fight without hesitation for a country that didn’t let us get legally married or have children. I swear I will follow your path and fight for full equality. That’s what you wanted and that’s what I’ll do.”

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