LGBT supporters flood the capital’s streets and wave custom pride flags, after the murder of Shira Banki at the city’s pride parade last July.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Monday met with leaders of the LGBT community and announced a plan he hoped would ameliorate frustration behind calls to cancel the annual pride parade in Tel Aviv.
According to the Finance Ministry, the multi-year program would identify needs within the LGBT community allocate and, for the first time, specifically dedicate line items for the community in the upcoming budget.
The wave of incitement and hatred sweeping through Israeli society, Kahlon said, was not passing over the LGBT community, and that such hatred had to be done away with.
The debate launched in April after the Tourism Ministry announced an NIS 11 million campaign to attract tourists to the pride parade, which drew between 18,000-30,000 tourists last year.
In response, Netanel Azulay, a writer and prominent member of the LGBT community, wrote a Facebook post calling on the community to cancel the parade and it surrounding events until the state gave its members full equality.
Israel’s government and economy benefit from the parade, he argued, even without taking LGBT rights seriously.
“You really want to attract tourists to a liberal and proud country? Let the community enjoy rights instead of lying that’s it good here,” he wrote in an April 15th post. In a later post, he specified issues such as marriage equality, the lack of a ban on gay conversion therapy, and discrimination against the transgender community in housing and law, among other things.
It is not clear whether the Finance Ministry moves will be enough to placate the members of the community, who also want laws granting them better access to adoption and surrogacy.
Zionist Union MK Stav Shafir expressed her solidarity with the community, saying “the government’s message to the LGBT community is that they are good enough to give their lives for the country, but not good enough to build their lives in it.”