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Israel To Allow Gay Jews To Immigrate With Non-Jewish Same-Sex Spouses

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Israeli dancers perform during the annual Gay Pride Parade on a street of Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, June 13, 2014. Shirtless Israeli men, colorfully dressed drag queens and others partied Friday through central Tel Aviv as it celebrates the week-long event that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their supporters, also known as the LGBT community. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel says it will now allow Jews to immigrate to Israel with their non-Jewish same-sex spouses.

In a directive publicized Tuesday, Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Saar told immigration authorities not to differentiate between married gay and straight couples.

Israeli law grants citizenship to Jews and close non-Jewish relatives who move to Israel. In a few cases in recent years, Israel only naturalized non-Jewish same-sex spouses of Jews following threats of Supreme Court petitions, says Israeli immigration attorney Nicole Maor.

Israel does not permit gays to marry in the country, but recognizes same-sex marriages if they were performed legally abroad. It is generally tolerant toward gays.

Gays serve openly in Israel's military and parliament, and Israel's Supreme Court grants gays family rights including inheritance and survivors' benefits.

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