Recently, an Israeli lawmaker had a baby with a gay friend she isn’t married to–which isn’t exactly the first time this has ever happened, but it’s definitely a rarity for someone in public life. It’s the first time “a Knesset member has pursued shared parenting out of wedlock,” according to The Times of Israel. (The Knesset is Israel’s unicameral parliament.)
41-year-old MK Merav Ben Ari announced the good news when she posted a photo of her baby girl to her Twitter account.
תודה רבה לכל המברכות והמברכים, כמה שהתכוננתי לא הבנתי בכלל עד שזה קרה לי.
היא הייתה מתואמת יפה עם המליאה ובשבת בבוקר נכנסה לעולמי, התרגשתי❤ pic.twitter.com/CT3TWbyrLM
— מירב בן ארי Merav BA (@meravi11) March 26, 2017
In the caption, she wrote how much her daughter means to her (her note has been translated from Hebrew to English):
“Thank you very much to all those who wished me well. As much as I prepared I did not understand at all until it happened to me. She was well synced with the [Knesset] plenum and on Saturday morning she entered my world, I was moved.”
Last October, Ben Ari announced the pregnancy, also explaining that the child’s father is a gay friend she identified as “Ofir.” In a later interview, Ben Ari opened up about why she chose this route, stating that she is a single woman, so this seemed like the best way for her to start a family:
“I don’t want to set off a rumor mill, with people wondering how a single woman at the Knesset is suddenly pregnant. So I’m saying it outright: I’m pregnant and everything’s alright. I’m not the first MK to get pregnant, but I am the first single MK to get pregnant by a gay friend without getting married.”
Ben Ari was elected to the Knesset in 2015 after being in the Tel Aviv city council. Her entry to public life was unorthodox: she was the winner of the reality show “Needed: A Leader” in 2015. With the 5 million (about $1.38 million) in prize money from the show, she opened centers for “at-risk” youth in Netanya and Herzliya.
Mazel tov to the happy mom! Families come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s so refreshing to see a political leader be upfront about her journey to motherhood. It’s so empowering that she owns being a single mom–and is honest about the fact that she doesn’t have a partner, but has a loving, unique and perfect family all the same.