Same-sex parents both called up for IDF reserve duty at the same time can now request that one of them has their service postponed – extending a right previously limited to partners of the opposite sex.

New regulations distributed to commanders last month mean that any couple living together as a family with children can ask for a postponement of service if their cohabitation is recognised by the National Insurance Institute. 

Equality campaigners and reservists effected welcomed the changes – which apply regardless of whether a same-sex couple is married or not.

Etai Pinkas and Yoav Arad-Pinkas with daughters Gal, Noa and Or

Etai Pinkas and Yoav Arad-Pinkas with daughters Gal, Noa and Or

Major Etai Pinkas, a bereavement officer for the IDF Municipal Office in Tel Aviv, said that “as a father” of three girls aged five and under, the news was “very reassuring”.

“This new regulation means that in case of a national emergency – I know that my daughters won’t be left at home without a parent”.

His husband, IDF commander Captain Yoav Arad-Pinkas, agreed – saying that he was grateful that equal rights for same-sex families had been formally codified.

The 42-year-old said: “Since I became a father to our twins Gal and Noa five years ago, my commanders have been considerate and understanding with regard to my reserve service. That being said, it’s good to know that from now on it’s official policy. Same-sex parents will no longer be left dependent on their commanders’ judgment”.

Although the new rules on postponement of service still discriminate against single parents of both sexes – approval for single mothers is automatic whereas approval for single fathers is not – an IDF spokesman said that commanders will still deal with any problems reservists face when summoned to serve.