Israeli ambassador first to be accompanied by gay spouse
A Liverpool-born man has become the first gay spouse of an Israeli ambassador.
Yitzhak Yanouka, known as Izzy, will soon be moving to Angola to become the next Israeli ambassador in Luanda and will be taking his partner Mikie Goldstein, 44, with him.
The couple met in Jerusalem in 1994 and were married in the city a year later. Although the marriage is not legally recognised, Goldstein said that as they have been together for more than two years, they are recognised as common law spouses under Israeli law.
Four current Israeli ambassadors are gay, but Yanouka is the first to be officially accompanied by his partner.
Goldstein told the Jewish Chronicle: “I feel I am pushing out new boundaries for the gay community, and I will have a chance to do other things. I will also be able to continue my fundraising activities for the Masorti movement and Jerusalem Open House.
He added: “Israel’s foreign ministry has been a world leader in its attitudes to gay rights. The UK foreign ministry has also been very progressive although the US State Department has only moved forward since the appointment of Hillary Clinton.
“Generally the world’s diplomatic community has many openly gay people and attending parties on the international circuit is no problem. I have always been fully accepted as Izzy’s spouse. It probably bothers some of the conservative Muslim countries but then they don’t speak to Israelis anyway.”
Goldstein will be entitled to all legal and economic rights due to heterosexual spouses of foreign ministry staff.
More: Middle East