In another precedent-setting achievement for the rights of same-sex couples led by NIF grantee New Family, an Israeli woman has been granted a widow’s pension by the government’s National Insurance Institute following the death of her lesbian partner. Ella Bar-Ilan, 64, who will receive the pension following the death of her partner Roberta Saltonick, was represented by New Family, which promotes recognition of all forms of family units and equal eligibility for rights and entitlements.
The couple met and fell in love 22 years ago in the US when Bar-Ilan was a Jewish Agency emissary. Saltonick made aliyah when Bar-Ilan returned to Israel shortly afterwards. Bar-Ilan said, “We had a wonderful and stable relationship throughout the years. Our straight friends would tell us that they envied our relationship.”
Last September shortly before the couple was due to go on vacation to Holland, Saltonick began suffering a violent headache. She had a severe stroke and died a month later.
Bar-Ilan decided that she wanted the State to recognize that her relationship was no different to that of a heterosexual couple and she applied for a National insurance widow’s pension. He request was rejected on the grounds that she and her late partner were not common-law spouses. With the help of New Family, she filed an appeal, which was upheld.
This is the latest in a string of achievements by the NIF family beginning with the repeal of laws outlawing homosexuality in 1988 through to the inheritance rights of same-sex couples and their right to adopt children in recent years.
Executive Director of New Family Irit Rosenblum said, “We will not rest until legislation is enacted giving the rights of all types of families in Israel equal status.”