Memebers of the Kenesset (MKs), Israel’s parliament, are to re-establish a gay pressure group to advance LGBT rights and combat homophobia.
The pressure group or caucus will be headed by MK Nitzan Horowitz (of Meretz party) and Ofer Shelah (of Yesh Atid party), and will be called ‘The Proud Caucus’, announced Horowitz today (20 February) on his Facebook page.
In a letter to MKs, Horowitz said that the group will focus on a variety of issues related to the LGBT community of Israel.
He stated the caucus would promote equal rights, open-mindedness, tolerance, and would stand against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In addition it will also promote bills, support organizations and improve public discourse in order to promote freedom and equality among Israelis.
Nitzan said on his Facebook page that the group would welcome legislative ideas and suggestions regarding LGBT issues.
Speaking with GSN, Shai Doitsh, the chair of The Aguda, Israel’s main LGBT right group, said: ‘The re-establishment of the pressure group and MK Ofer Shelah’s participation, in particular, fosters hope that this Knesset will be far more pro LGBT than the former.
‘We hope we will have a real opportunity to advance change in LGBT rights in particular, and human rights in general, in Israel.
‘Otzma, our political division, in collaboration with the LGBT cells in the various Israeli political parties, will work to the realization of our hopes.’
Speaking with GSN, Shabi Gatenio, chair of Otzma, said: ‘I congratulate the formation of the pressure group to promote LGBT rights in Israel, headed by Horowitz, there is no doubt he’s the most suitable person for the job in the 19th Knesset.
‘The caucus is an important vehicle for the LGBT community and its organizations and we hope we can promote legislations for equality in collaboration with it.’