Merertz party Member of the Knesset (MK) Nitan Horowitz has accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of using gay rights to attack Iran but says there has been no progress on LGBTI rights under his leadership.
‘In almost every major speech he’s given overseas in the last few years, he has used the LGTB community in Israel as a means to attack Iran,’ Horowitz, Israel’s first openly gay lawmaker, said yesterday according to Haaretz.
‘For that purpose we’re okay, showcasing Israel as a liberal paradise. I ask the Prime Minister what he has done to address the issue here. The truth is that for the last five years, during which he has headed the government, any advancement of the gay community toward full and equal legal rights has been frozen.’
Horowitz was joined in that criticism by Labor MK Miki Rosenthal, who accused him of being against gay rights at home but for them when abroad.
‘Mr Prime Minister, why is it acceptable for you to say “gay” in English, whereas you have never used the word “homosexual” in any of your [Hebrew] speeches?’ Rosenthal said.
Netanyahu was not present in the Knesset to respond to their criticism.
Recent polling commissioned by Haaretz Newspaper found that 70% of Israelis want equality for LGBTIs short of same-sex marriage but progress has been blocked by the religious Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party which has used its veto as part of its deal to support the government to block any attempts at advancing gay rights.
Labor MK Stav Shaffir accused the government of living ‘somewhere in the 19th century.’
‘My bill, which proposed allowing same-sex couples to have recognized civil unions, was rejected by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation,’ Shaffir said.
‘A similar proposal by Yesh Atid disappeared since their last press conference. A prohibition on discrimination in hiring based on gender and a bill aimed at equalizing mortgage terms for same-sex couples were also rejected.’