Rise of LGBT MKs from two to five “bittersweet”

In the outgoing Knesset, there were two gay MKs: Itzik Shmuli of Labor and Amir Ohana of Likud. They will be joined by new Blue and White MKs Idan Roll, Yorai Lahav Hertzanu and Eitan Ginzburg.

April 18, 2019 05:15
1 minute read.
Rise of LGBT MKs from two to five “bittersweet”

Man holds a Star of David rainbow flag at the 2017 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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The Knesset will more than double its record of out of the closet representatives of the lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual community, when five gay MKs will be sworn into the 21st Knesset on April 30.

In the outgoing Knesset, there were two gay MKs: Itzik Shmuli of Labor and Amir Ohana of Likud. They will be joined by new Blue and White MKs Idan Roll, Yorai Lahav Hertzanu and former Ra’anana mayor Eitan Ginzburg.

Ginzburg, who was the first openly gay mayor of a city, said it was bittersweet that while the LGBT community was gaining numerically, its strength would not necessarily rise because neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the parties expected to join his coalition, supported LGBT rights.

“It is an achievement, and I hope it is a positive sign for the future,” Ginzburg said. “But the results of the election create a bigger challenge to advance the rights of the community. The community rose in strength thanks to one party, Blue and White, but the ruling party did not advance legislation to help the community before. I hope they realize the result of the election was a signal, and if not, we will have to fight them.”

Ohad Hizki, the director-general of the National LGBT Task Force, said representation for his community was not only good news but also the basis for social change.

“We hope the five MKs will be role models for the next generation of LGBT leaders who dream of public service and realize the doors are finally open to them,” Hizki said.

Hizki said he hoped there would be lesbian MKs in the future. He noted that in municipal elections, there were two new lesbian deputy mayors in Tel Aviv and Givatayim.

“But LGBT representation is only half way there,” Hizki said. “The second half is getting things done for the community. I hope the five MKs work together across coalition-opposition lines and become a significant force passing legislation, changing rules in ministries and advancing the community.”

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