Thursday, February 2, 2023

Netanyahu slams aides for LGBTQ remarks

JERUSALEM ( Associated Press) – Israel’s prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked his coalition partners for saying on Sunday they would propose legislation to discriminate against LGBTQ people, saying LGBTQ rights would be violated during his regime. shall not be infringed.

Netanyahu is set to lead the most nationalist and religious government in Israel’s history, his Likud party and others that are explicitly anti-LGBTQ. This has raised fears among the LGBTQ community that the new government, which is expected to take office next week, will reverse the gains made by that sector in recent years.

Religious Zionism party lawmaker Orit Struck said his party would propose changing the country’s anti-discrimination law to allow people to refuse work against their religious beliefs – including discrimination against LGBTQ people in hospitals.

In an interview with Cannes radio on Sunday, Struck said that “as long as there are other doctors who can provide care,” religious health workers should have the right to refuse to help LGBTQ people.

Another member of that party, Simcha Rotman, declared that private businesses, including hotel owners, should have the right to refuse to provide services to LGBTQ people “if it hurts their religious feelings.”

Netanyahu said Struck’s comments were “unacceptable to me and the members of Likud” and that the coalition agreement “does not allow for discrimination against LGBTQ people or the violation of their rights to receive services like all other citizens of Israel”.

The outgoing government took small steps to advance the rights of the LGBTQ community, lifting a ban on donating blood from gay men, facilitating sex change surgery, and outspoken opposition to “conversion therapy”, which stigmatizes an LGBTQ person. based on assumption. Can be “converted” to be heterosexual with therapy.

The incoming government includes two ultra-Orthodox parties that ban women from politics, and the Religious Judaism Party, a broad movement whose leaders are explicitly homophobic.

As the controversy escalated, Netanyahu later released a second video in which he said he “completely rejects” Struck’s comments.

“In the country I lead, there will be no situation where a person – whether LGBT, Arab or ultra-Orthodox – walks into a hotel and is denied services, or walks into a doctor’s office and services are denied,” Netanyahu said…

The controversy comes days after the daily Yediot Ahronot reported that the far-right faction Noam, another member of the Religious Zionism Alliance, once compiled a list of LGBTQ journalists and claimed that the “LGBT press” succumbed to political pressure. is a factor. Incredible power.”

The controversy prompted the country’s President, Isaac Herzog, to express his concerns. In Israel, the president is a largely ceremonial position that seeks to be the country’s moral guide and factor of national unity.

Herzog said, “A situation where an Israeli citizen feels threatened by his or her identity or his or her faith undermines the basic democratic and moral values ​​of the State of Israel.” Herzog said, “The racist comments I have heard in recent days against the LGBT community and against various sectors of society in general concern me and make me very upset.”

LGBTQ people serve openly in the military and are members of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament). Many figures in the arts and entertainment, as well as former ministers, are openly gay. Still, leaders of that community insist Israel has a long way to go to achieve equality.

Netanyahu and his allies won a majority in the Knesset in an election held on 1 November. Last week, the leader announced that he had managed to form a coalition to govern. However, the government has not yet been sworn in, and Netanyahu and his allies are still negotiating power-sharing deals.

Netanyahu served as prime minister for 12 years before being defeated in the elections last year.

Nation World News Desk
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