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Michaeli: I didn't mean to offend gay community

June 15, 2012 10:09

Yisrael Beytenu apologizes after saying most gays sexually abused as children, commit suicide at 40.

Anastasia Michaeli

Anastasia Michaeli 311. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)

Yisrael Beytenu MK Anastasia Michaeli apologized on Thursday for saying the day before in a Knesset committee meeting that most gay people were sexually abused as children and that they eventually “commit suicide when they are 40.”

Michaeli’s comments were condemned by gay groups and fellow lawmakers from across the political spectrum. Her own Yisrael Beytenu faction distanced itself from the MK’s remarks, clarifying in a statement that her opinions were her’s alone and did not represent the thinking of the party.

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In a letter released on Thursday night, Michaeli wrote, “I’m sorry if anyone was hurt,” adding that she did not believe her comments were homophobic.

“I respect the right of every person to live as he sees fit,” Michaeli said, explaining that she was merely attempting to raise important issues with her remarks. “First, is the real distress members of the gay and lesbian community are subject to in different stages of their lives, and second, is the violent and crass programming, especially of a sexual nature, in the media and television.”

In her comments at Wednesday’s meeting of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, Michaeli charged Channel 10 with broadcasting programs that encouraged children to be gay. “We need to find out why Channel 10 has a right to broadcast this content that my children see, and hear that it’s fun and nice [for men] to put on makeup and dress up in skirts,” she said.

In her Thursday apology, the Yisrael Beytenu MK defended her comments that gay people “commit suicide when they are 40,” saying that those who are different and have to deal with distress on a daily basis are in danger of committing suicide. She said that sweeping the issue under the rug and not discussing it would only make the problem worse.
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