Mother of a problem

Preschool asks gay dads: “Which one is the mother?”

Guy Sadaka and Hai Aviv. Photo by Etty Gennis

A gay couple in Israel has spoken out about harassment by a preschool when officials had the nerve to ask the men “Which one’s the mother?”

Guy Sadaka and Hai Aviv had applied to enroll their two-year-old twins in a government-subsidized preschool program in Tel Aviv. While on the phone with the school, an application agent demanded to know which man was the mother of the girls.

Related: Israel’s Education minister changes stance on conversion therapy after wide backlash

“I understand that you are both fathers and that you run a shared household, but there is always the one who is more dominant, who is more ‘the mother,’” the agent said, according to Sadaka. “I am just asking for a written statement declaring which of you is the mother. From the point of view of the work — who works less than the father? Like in a normal family.”

That question just speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

Related: What happens when a closeted Israeli businessman falls for a hot German baker?

Rather than react in anger, Sadaka & Aviv have gone public with the experience. “It kind of made me laugh,” Sadaka told NBC News. “But this ignorance in a government office when it’s just about 2020 just seems crazy to me. I felt frustrated that I have to give answers that don’t make any sense.”

The Israeli Ministry of Education issued an apology by the middle of last week, saying “We emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ practices explicitly treat all types of families and grant equal rights to all.” Officials for the ministry also have said they will update protocols to prevent an incident like this from happening in the future.

Guy Sadaka and Hai Aviv have been together 12 years, and had their children–a boy and a girl–born via surrogacy in the US. Though often cited as the most queer-friendly nation in the Middle East, Israel still has yet to recognize same-sex marriage. Surrogacy for single women and same-sex couples is still prohibited within the country, and according to Sadaka and Aviv, anti-LGBTQ attitudes still pervade the country outside of major cities.