Knesset session 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin met on Monday with leaders of the gay community in
honor of Gay Pride Month despite complaints from haredi MKs.
celebrities, like pop singer Ivri Lider, and political activists attended the
event, initiated for the third year in a row by MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), who
was joined this year by MK Nino Abesadze (Kadima). Gay teenagers sat in the
audience, as did same-sex couples with their children.
Gay pride event in Knesset outrages haredi parties
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Horowitz said a
record number of MKs – 18 – attended the event. MKs from Kadima, Meretz and
Labor discussed strengthening rights for homosexuals and their families, as did
MK Einat Wilf (Independence), the coalition’s sole representative.
the issues discussed was the problem same-sex couples face in finding surrogate
mothers. The Surrogacy Law states that only a heterosexual couple can make use
of a surrogate mother in Israel, so samesex couples are forced to travel abroad.
Activists also said local schools should educate children about different kinds
of families, citing examples of teachers making homophobic
Rivlin made a brief speech at the event, pointing out that
“some people thought I shouldn’t be here.”
He continued, “I need to be
here, and I’m here, and there is no question that the Knesset respects all of
Israel’s citizens, their expressions and their lifestyles.
expression is an inalienable right. A person should be able to live however he
wants, as long as he doesn’t harm others.”
The Knesset speaker said there
is “a problem in Israeli society’s perception,” but that the government “has
made progress. There is no denial or refusal,” on the government’s part to
recognize gays’ rights, Rivlin explained, “but the matter is very
“I came here to tell you that the Knesset accepts any group
that seeks to promote its needs and rights,” Rivlin added.
haredi MKs expressed outrage at the event and Rivlin’s participation.
am astonished over the Knesset Speaker’s decision to host so-called gay
families,” MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) said. “I can’t understand his
Ze’ev said the Knesset should “direct these people to starting
families and continue in the traditions of Judaism and of mankind,” instead of
“encouraging them to go in negative directions.”