Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi)..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Could the former National Religious Party have a gay candidate in the next Knesset?
In its days as the NRP, only Jews committed to keeping all the commandments could run for Knesset with the party.
Since becoming Bayit Yehudi in 2008, the party has opened its ranks, first to secular candidates, such as Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
In the 2015 primary, Arab Anat Haskia and two Druse candidates ran for the party’s Knesset slate. Since then, Druse activist Eyal Assad has built a massive base in the party, giving him a good chance to get elected to the next Knesset.
But there has never been an openly gay candidate in the Orthodox party. In an interview with the 101.5FM radio station, Shaked said a member of the gay and lesbian community would be welcome to run with the party.
“Anyone who wants and believes in the values of the party would be happily welcomed, even if his sexual preference is different,” Shaked told interviewers Mendy Reisel and Amnon Sofer. “There are primaries, and of course, anyone can run if they believe in the party’s values.”
When asked about Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev
’s frequent statements against gays, Shaked said there were different views within the party.
Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich said he disagreed with Shaked and that a religious party could not grant legitimacy to same-sex marriages, which are not permitted by Jewish law.
“A religious party must be obligated to the values of Judaism and Torah,” he said. “If Bayit Yehudi will not be a religious party, there will be another religious party.”
Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett has said about the LGBT community that he “loves all of the people of Israel, including those who prefer their own gender.” He briefly employed a spokeswoman who is a lesbian and has children with her partner.
There are currently two openly gay MKs in the Knesset: Itzik Shmuli of the Zionist Union and Amir Ohana of the Likud. At least two gay women are running for the next Knesset: Heidi Moses in the Likud and Zehorit Sorek in Yesh Atid.
“In the Likud, it has been proven that a gay candidate could get elected,” Ohana said. “I hope the same could happen in Bayit Yehudi. Someone should run and test the members of the party.”
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