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Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana visit the Zvyozdny orphanage in Ivanovo, northeast of Moscow

Russia and Israel have arrived at final arrangements within the framework of an agreement on adoptions of Russian children, Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov on Tuesday, following a session of the Russian-Israeli commission for trade and economic cooperation, TASS reported.

Russia is the main destination for Israelis who seek to adopt out of country.


Akimov stressed the importance of these arrangements, saying, “We hope the text will be finalized shortly.” But he did not give a concrete timeframe.

According to Akimov, the two countries sew eye-to-eye on major aspects of the agreement. Other important outcomes of the same session, he also listed the development of the customs green corridor—simplifying customs operations in mutual trade between the two countries; and the implementation of an agreement on mutual payment of pensions.

Talks on signing an agreement with Israel on adoptions of Russian children have been in progress since 2016. Early in 2018, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren told TASS that it could be signed in the first quarter of 2018. But there have been delays, among other things Russia’s reluctance to allow same-sex foreign couples to adopt Russian children.

In February 2014, Russia enacted regulations banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples or by single people from countries where same-sex marriages are legal.

According to Ha’aretz, representatives of Israel’s Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry have signed letters that were submitted to Russian courts, promising to follow Russia’s ban on same-sex couples adopting. The ministry followed a request from Israeli private adoption agencies, sidestepping the 1992 Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, which views equal representation as part of the “right to dignity.”

Russia has employed its adoption policies as a political weapon to get its way with Western country. A well-known example is the Dima Yakovlev Law, which prohibits US citizens from adopting in Russia.

Israeli couples adopt orphans from Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Guatemala. But since the new regulations adoptions from Russia have dropped significantly – from more than 100 annually in 2007 to less than 20 in 2015.

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