Ariel: Gov’t won’t recognize ‘not normative’ homosexuals

MK Horowitz slams minister’s ‘homophobic comments’, ministers split on bill banning discrimination against gays.

December 8, 2013 16:13
2 minute read.
Bayit Yehudi MK Uri Ariel

MK Uri Ariel 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)


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Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel came under fire once again for his comments on homosexuality Saturday night, calling gay people “not normative.”

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation came to a tie on a bill proposed by Ofer Shelah, Yesh Atid faction chairman, forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation, with five ministers in favor and five against.

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Health Minister Yael German submitted an appeal, so the proposal will be brought to another vote.

A bill proposed by MK Dov Henin (Hadash), giving samesex couples equal benefits to heterosexual married couples in applying for a mortgage, was voted down.

Responding to a question on Channel 2’s “Meet the Press” about the Bayit Yehudi’s opposition to a Yesh Atid bill, that would give male homosexual parents an equal tax break to heterosexual parents, Ariel said “the government does not need to recognize the rights of same-sex couples in an official way.”

The Bayit Yehudi opposed the proposal by MK Adi Kol (Yesh Atid), because it would set a legal precedent of recognizing gay partnerships, but offered alternative language to be used in the bill that would still grant the tax benefit, which Yesh Atid rejected.

“Gays chose what they want to be, and the government needs to respond but doesn’t need to recognize them,” Ariel said. “This isn’t a normative, regular or important thing. We think there are other things that need to be taken care of first.”

In June 2012, Ariel said in an interview with the Knesset Channel: “If I had to decide, I wouldn’t recruit homosexuals to the army, because some things harm the army’s ability to fight.” “We need to act in the spirit of Judaism,” Ariel said.

According to Ariel, homosexuality is a phenomenon that was “common in other nations,” which some Jewish people picked up and as such “the Torah comes out sharply against it and sets heavy punishments for it.”

Meretz’s Nitzan Horowitz, the only openly gay member of the current Knesset, attacked Ariel as an “unenlightened politician.”

“[Ariel’s] homophobic comments represent his party, which believes in discrimination and religious coercion,” the Meretz MK said.

“The question is why prime minister [Binyamin Netanyahu] allows a minister in his government to harm hundreds of thousands of Israelis, and why his coalition partners, like Yesh Atid, back him.”

Horowitz said the country will recognize same-sex couples, in defiance of Ariel.

The LGBT Task Force, an umbrella organization for gay groups, said “Bayit Yehudi MKs’ extremist coercion is not normal. It’s unfortunate that Ariel and his friends in the Bayit Yehudi are working to turn Israel, the Jewish nationstate, into a theocracy.”

“The Ayatollahs in the Bayit Yehudi, including their secular fig leaf, Ayelet Shaked, want to turn children in LGBT families into orphans in the eyes of their country,” the organization said.

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