Does Israel have the authority to recognize sex change?

The 'Choosing Family' movement asked the Ministry of Health on what grounds it feels authorized to approve sex change in Israel.

Yehonatan Gotlieb ,


Chairman of the "Choosing Family — the Movement for Strengthening Family Values in Israel", Michael Pua, founded by Rabbis Azriel Ariel and Itai Elitzur, sent Health Minister and Meretz chairman MK Nitzan Horowitz a warning notice prior to filing administrative lawsuit on the basis of the Ministry's asserting authority to recognize sex changes in Israel.

In his letter, Pua questions the Ministry's authority to appoint a committee for approving sex changes and asks what criteria they consider sufficient for determining an individual's such changes.

Pua says he intends to file an administrative petition against the Ministry in which he will claim that the gender reassignment certificates it asserts to have judicial power to issue lack the necessary legal authority.

"The....[Health Ministry] lacks authority to make decisions in such cases unless predicated by law," he writes. "Having reviewed the law, I have found no evidence stating that the Minister of Health has been issued the authority to alter a person's gender."

"Moreover," he adds, "I have not found any criterion for determining the gender of a person, for which it is possible to change data appearing in an individual's birth certificate. Therefore I asked [the Ministry] for a document featuring criteria which was supposed to be used as the basic tool [for making such a decision and have not received one].

The Ministry of Health has refused to comment on the report.