Though MK Nino Abesadze (Kadima) held an official press conference with Labor
leader Shelly Yacimovich late last month to say she will be running in the Labor
primary, she made an unofficial announcement the night before.
24 hours before her press conference, Abesadze attended an event for gay Labor
supporters, continuing her advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
Israelis as co-chair of the Knesset caucus against homophobia.
leaders of 13 LGBT organizations pledged their support for Abesadze’s candidacy
in the November 29 primary.
A letter backing Abesadze was signed by
leaders of the Israel AIDS Task Force; the Israel Gay Youth Organization; the
National Association of GLBT in Israel; Hevruta, the group for religious
homosexuals in Israel; Bat Kol – Religious Lesbian Organization; and
The leaders of Israel’s LGBT community wrote that Abesadze
“spearheaded the struggle against expressions and incidents of
The letter described the aspiring Labor MK’s efforts in the
Knesset caucus against homophobia, which included inviting representatives of
the World LGBTQ Summit to meetings and convening an emergency meeting condemning
homophobic remarks by other MKs, such as Anastasia Michaeli (Yisrael Beytenu)
and Uri Ariel (National Union).
In addition, the letter mentioned
Abesadze’s legislation to “streamline and open the process of surrogacy in
Israel and facilitate civil marriage in the country.”
When Kadima was in
the coalition earlier this year, Abesadze rebelled against party discipline to
vote in favor of a marriage equality bill by MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), the
only openly gay member of the 18th Knesset.
“Unfortunately, only a few
elected officials in the Knesset are willing to work openly on behalf of the
LGBT community. Thus, we hope to see MK Nino Abesadze continue to serve in the
Knesset as a champion of full equality for all Israelis – regardless of
religious beliefs, race, gender or sexual preference,” the letter
Abesadze responded to the LGBT community leaders, saying she
will fight for their rights in the next Knesset.
“Together we will work
for a change in the way the State of Israel understands [LGBT citizens] and
promote a more equal and liberal Israel where you will have the equal right to
get married and have children like anyone else,” the MK said.