Photo Credit: Merav Michaeli's Facebook page
Merav Michaeli and Lior Schleien with their newborn, Uri, Aug. 21, 2021.

Transport Minister and Labor Chairwoman Merav Michaeli on Saturday revealed that the reason she had disregarded her own government’s Corona restrictions on flying to the United States was to collect her newborn son, Uri, from his surrogate mother.

Michaeli, who is in a long term relationship with popular TV host and standup comic Lior Schleien (they reside above one another in a duplex apartment in Tel Aviv), posted on Facebook:

The first time Lior told me, let’s make a baby, I was sure it was a punch line. After all, he is a satirist, and this is me, and it’s well known I have no intention of having children.

As he went on, I thought he was saying this because it’s an accepted way in our culture to say I love you.

For a very long time, I thought it would pass. Because to me, our lives were really great the way they were. But as time went by I realized how much he wanted it.

And I looked at him, and I loved him. And I chose to live with him and I chose to go with him on this journey.

It was a journey rife with many trials. I’m glad I went through this journey, I now know what it means about myself and what it entails, and what needs to work differently in this system of fertility treatments, but we’ll talk about that another day.

We were incredibly lucky to meet Kelsey, a stunning American girl who wanted to help those in our situation and also help support her own lovely family.

Thanks to her, Uri was born yesterday.

It does not change anything about what I think regarding the inequality that makes motherhood a burden on women, it does not change my opinion about the fact that you are a perfect woman without being a mother.

He’s my and Lior’s child. We are so happy with him and happy to be his parents. It’s a love story. Now it’s a love story of three.

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Some vital background: Merav Michaeli is the granddaughter of Rudolf Kastner, a Jewish Hungarian journalist, and attorney who helped Jews escape from Nazi-occupied Europe during the Holocaust. He was assassinated in 1957 after an Israeli court accused him of having collaborated with the Nazis. The grounds for this accusation and murder was the fact that Kastner negotiated with Adolf Eichmann to allow 1,684 Jews to leave Hungary—instead of to Auschwitz—Switzerland on “the Kastner train,” for bribes in cash, gold, and diamonds.

Onboard the Kastner train were major figures from all sectors of Hungarian Jewry, including Haredim such as Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, founder of the Satmar dynasty, and Agudat Israel member Rabbi Avraham Deutsch.

In her introductory speech after being elected to the Knesset in 2013, Michaeli defended the memory of her grandfather and claimed that newly-discovered documents show the extent of his efforts to get many more Jews out of Hungary.

Finally: the fact that Minister Michaeli is engaged in a normative nuclear family suggests there’s hope even for Jewish radical feminism. Back in September 2017, appeared on Australia’s ABC TV in a debate on the usefulness of the institution of marriage and the nuclear family in today’s society, and expressed views that infuriated many of her own supporters, never mind the vast majority of Israeli Jews And Arabs who wouldn’t dream of voting for her.

Channeling Betty Friedan and 1970s dust-covered feminist manifestos, MK Michaeli told the Australian panel, comprised of Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs; Mark Dreyfus, Shadow Attorney-General; Lucy Gichuhi, Independent Senator for South Australia; and philosopher A.C. Grayling, that the family institution “was created back at a time when we, women, were commodities, as were children, as were men without property and of other colors. This is not something that we should maintain in a world when we realize all of us are human beings.

“It is not about love, I realize that the campaign for the ‘yay’ suggests that love is equal. Love is definitely equal – [but] it’s got nothing to do with this institution. This is a tool that was made to dominate women for the sake of reproduction, for men to have legal custody over children which are to the largest, I would say, the chance of certainty, their own flesh and blood. This is not something that we should sustain.”

Report Amit Segal also pointed out her previous opposition to the use of surrogates.

Michaeli also suggested that, in fact, the nuclear family is the most dangerous place for children, since every fifth child, according to her stats, undergoes some kind of sexual, physical or emotional abuse.

MK Bezalel Smotrich tweeted back then: “Hallucinatory, Hallucinatory, Hallucinatory,” calling the Labor Chairperson’s views “distortions that can only be invented by the brain of a wretched person who has never experienced parenthood and family.”

Well, here’s to second chances. See you at the Bris? Yes? No?

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.