Two male soldiers holding hands in TA 370.
(photo credit: IDF)
Just days after the LGBT community was rattled by what it perceived as an
anti-gay rant by a member of Knesset, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) on Monday
stated that the IDF should not draft homosexuals into its ranks.
a Knesset Channel reporter whether he supported the IDF drafting gay civilians,
Ariel said: “If I had to choose I would not draft them.” Ariel added that he
believes homosexuality “distracts the army from its main task of
“We must always ask ourselves whether or not we are acting in
accordance with Jewish values and the Torah,” he said. “The Torah comes out
against this phenomenon harshly and levels very heavy penalties [for
Responding to Ariel, opposition leader Shelly
Yechimovich said: “The latest assault on the gay community is a primitive and
dangerous attack that comes in at a time when the Israeli public is finding
enlightenment and tolerance, and is accepting the community as
“MKs attacking the community may earn them political points, but
their incitement endangers the gay community and damages the state of Israel,”
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Monday condemned Ariel’s
comments as “anti-gay” and “disturbing.”
“An attack or discrimination
against someone because of their sexual preference or way of life is outrageous
and harmful to human dignity,” Sa’ar stated.
He added: “Public figures
must come out against statements of this kind, clearly and unequivocally, and
say ‘enough is enough,’ in order to preserve Israel as an enlightened and
Dror Mizrahi, chairman of the Meretz Pride Forum,
responded to Ariel, saying that the the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
community serves in the IDF with pride. “Thankfully, Uri Ariel and his friends
in the hallucinatory Right do not decide the IDF’s draft policy.
gays and lesbians join the IDF and have meaningful and proud service, and this
will continue despite Ariel.”
The Labor Party’s gay faction also
condemned Ariel’s comments, saying: “We regret that once again voices from the
right-wing betray ignorance and intolerance toward the LGBT community.
Ariel’s comments are serious and demonstrate a complete lack of respect for
thousands of gay soldiers.”