Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin joined representatives from many of the left-wing
parties on Monday night at the Jerusalem Open House, a gay and lesbian community
center, for a debate focusing on issues important to the GLBTQ (gay, lesbian,
bisexual, transgender and queer) community.
Party representatives Shlomo
Molla (Tzipi Livni Party), Dov Henin (Hadash), Adi Kol (Yesh Atid) Nino Abesadze
(Labor), and Michal Roisin (Meretz) also spoke for the event.
urged gay voters to vote according to their political ideology, not just their
“Patronizing the gay community is absolutely
unacceptable,” he told the packed room of 150 people. “But vote for who you want
to take action, not just for someone like you.”
The comment was aimed at
Meretz, whose liberal agenda and openly gay Knesset member have made it a
popular political home for gay young people.
The fiery oration from
Roisin appealed to the largely liberal group, many of whom wore bright green
“Social justice doesn’t end at the Green Line,” she said.
“If you are really passionate about equality, no group steps on another group or
discriminates against another group.”
There were, however, quite a few
conservative participants, including founders of the Gay Likud activism
Open House director Elinor Sidi said she was thrilled with the
turnout, especially Rivlin’s decision to attend.
“At the end of the day
the Knesset is about legislation, and not talking... I really hope we’ll be able
to work with them,” she said, noting all of the panel participants are expected
to become MKs.
Sixty-year-old Jerusalem resident Eitan said he had hoped
to hear more specific details about how the parties would vote on issues
important to the gay community, including civil marriage for same sex partners.
Many of the politicians were intentionally vague about a possible vote
legalizing gay marriage, instead stressing their support and respect for the gay
“Things were very grey,” said Adi, 40, also from
“Yes, we support you, you deserve rights like everyone else,
but they didn’t talk about specifics and they didn’t show they really understand
issues that are important to us,” she said. “It was interesting to hear
everyone, but Rubi [Rivlin] doesn’t represent his party, he’s the exception and
he’s not the typical Likudnik and certainly not the typical Yisrael Beytenu.”