Likud activist Moshe Feiglin will be meeting soon with a new forum of homosexual
members of the party, Feiglin and the group’s leader revealed on Saturday
The gay group has already met with 19 out of the 27 Likud MKs
since it was founded about four months ago. Its leaders count hundreds of Likud
members as part of the group but estimate that out of some 150,000 Likud
members, thousands are gay.
“They asked to meet with me, and I said I
would be happy to,” Feiglin said. “I think there is no need to interfere with
anyone’s private life. It only becomes a problem when people choose to make an
ideology out of living in a way that is considered by much of the population as
immoral. I can disagree with them on this issue and still be friends with
Feiglin said there are people in his Manhigut Yehudit movement who
are gay. A date has not yet been set for the meeting, which the group’s leader,
Dr Evan Cohen, said was initiated by both sides.
“He’s probably a lot
more liberal than people would like to believe,” Cohen said of
Feiglin. “We want to meet everyone in the party. We have no problem
meeting with anyone.”
Cohen is a doctor of linguistics at Tel Aviv
University who was born in Durban, South Africa, and moved to Israel at age
nine. He said gay people should support whichever party fits their political
ideology regardless of their sexual orientation.
“We feel very much at
home in the Likud, which defines itself as a national-liberal party,” Cohen
said. “Inside the party we have gotten nothing but support.”
the party’s most pro-gay politicians were Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar,
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, Culture and Sport Minister Limor
Livnat, and MK Ophir Akunis.
Even MK Tzipi Hotovely, who is religious,
told them that although she opposes gay marriage, she also opposes
Asked whether the Likud should field a gay candidate for
the next Knesset, Cohen said he did not feel the only people who could advance
gay rights were gay, just as he does not believe the only people who could
forward feminist ideals are women.
Cohen and Renana Leviani of Likud
faced off against the leaders of a gay group inside the Labor Party at a debate
in Tel Aviv last Wednesday that was attended by dozens of people.
made news at the event by saying that if ministers saw that they would have the
support of 4,000 Likud members it would make it easier for them to come out of
“It’s possible that there are MKs and ministers who are gay
but for their electoral reasons keep it to themselves,” Cohen said. “That
includes men and women, some of whom may be married but that’s
Cohen said Binyamin Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime
minister to visit a gay center. He praised him for speaking openly about
supporting gay rights. Dan Slyper, who faced off against Cohen in the debate,
“I think Netanyahu is a hypocrite because he tries to present
Israel as a modern progressive country when he speaks in English about the
rights of the LGBT community in Israel, but on the other hand, he is afraid of
saying the same thing in Hebrew because of the ultraconservative religious
parties in his coalition.”
Slyper teaches civics at a Ramat Gan high
school and works for Coca-Cola Israel’s computer department. He said his gay
group in Labor intends to field a Knesset candidate.
Asked who won the
debate, Slyper said: “The gay community as a whole won because it proved that it
has representation in the large parties. The turnout at the event shows that
there is growing interest in politics in our community and we hope it will
continue to grow.”