Israeli right-wing magazine decries 'LGBT-stan' and 'LGBT religion'

The publication is the latest incident to stir outrage from the LGBTQ+ community in Israel this month.

Pride flag at Jerusalem Pride march, June 2021 (photo credit: GAL GASHMA)
Pride flag at Jerusalem Pride march, June 2021
(photo credit: GAL GASHMA)

The right-wing Channel 14 announced a new magazine on Monday, with the cover featuring a cartoon of worshippers surrounding a rainbow "golden calf" with the title "LGBT-stan: how radical left-wing organizations control the State of Israel with the LGBT religion."

The Aguda - The Association for LGBTQ+ Equality in Israel - called the magazine cover "dangerous incitement that contains nothing but hatred for the sake of hatred."

"The publication reminds us how much our struggle for security and equality is not over yet and how important it is to fight until we get there. We will exhaust every legal proceeding along the way and we will stand up for our rights, even if it is discourse that comes from the margins of Israeli society," said the Aguda.

The magazine cover comes shortly before Pride Month, which begins on Wednesday and the Jerusalem Pride March on Thursday. The Jerusalem Pride march will take place on June 2 at 3 p.m. It will start from Liberty Bell Park and finish at Independence Park, with closing events beginning at 7 p.m.

After the publication of the magazine cover, journalist Yuval Karni tweeted that he would no longer accept interviews with the right-wing channel. An article on the Channel 14 website shared responses to Karni's announcement, including one person who wrote "This is exactly the claim against you all in the article. You are a violent, political cartel, unwilling to accept criticism and openly and democratically discuss any issue. Your response proves that Gali Bat Horin (the author of the article in the magazine) is right."

Activist Sheffi Paz responded to Karni as well, writing "Feel free to come once to a meeting of right-wing LGBT people and hear what the connection between the community and the radical left has done for them. It is impossible to stand on the side of the left in all the struggles and force an agenda on an ultra-Orthodox religious population that goes against their whole worldview on issues of religion, education and family, and then cry about it," according to Channel 14.

"'LGBT-stan,' 'LGBT religion' - words that are exactly what the rabbi enflamed from Mitzpe Ramon," said Meretz head Nitzan Horowitz in response to the magazine cover. "It's just hatred towards people because of who they are, because of their identity. It's not 'because of the parades' or a curriculum or equal rights. It is a hatred that was terrible even when the LGBT people hid deep in the closet for fear of their lives. We will not hide anymore."

Latest in slew of LGBTQ-phobic incidents in Israel

The publication is the latest incident to stir outrage from the LGBTQ+ community in Israel this month.

Last week, the head of the hesder yeshiva in Mitzpe Ramon called on students to “fight” against LGBTQ+ people in a recent speech, telling his audience to say “gays, go home!” in their workplaces.

“This is the battle that I tell everyone, each one in his place. Don’t be shy. Be courageous. Where you work say ‘LGBTQ+ people, go home!’ ‘gays, go home!’” said Rabbi Tzvi Kustiner, the head of the yeshiva.

Kustiner claimed there was much violence and sexual abuse among LGBTQ+ people, and called them “Evil people! They’re going to put this craziness in every home and we’re silent, scared. Parent 1, parent 2, crazy!” according to the video.

The week before that, the Aguda announced that an LGBTQ+ Pride march planned in Netivot would be cancelled after a bullet was placed on the office door of one of the organizers’ mothers and the family vehicle of another organizer was vandalized.

The march, which was planned for June 3, faced opposition from a number of local residents, with a petition against the march receiving over 4,800 signatures and a number of local rabbis speaking out against it. Some residents also held protests against the march.

Some 2,971 cases of LGBTQ-phobic hate and violence were reported in Israel in 2021, the highest number reported since the first report was issued for data collected in 2013, according to the ninth annual report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-phobia by the Nir Katz Center of the Aguda.

The figure marked a 10% rise compared to 2020 and means that, on average, a case of LGBTQ-phobia is reported about every three hours.