Refusing service to LGBTQ+ people, non-Jews to be allowed under new gov't

Currently, a business owner who refuses to serve customers on religious grounds will, in most instances, be given a heavy fine.

 People participate in the first Gay Pride Parade in Mitzpe Ramon, on July 2, 2021.  (photo credit: FLASH90)
People participate in the first Gay Pride Parade in Mitzpe Ramon, on July 2, 2021.
(photo credit: FLASH90)

Otzma Yehudit head MK Itamar Ben-Gvir on Friday defended a clause added to the new coalition agreements that will allow private business owners to refuse services to Israelis based on religious beliefs, meaning Israeli businesses will be able to legally deny service to LGBTQ+ individuals or non-Jews.

The clause, which was inserted into the Likud's agreement with the Religious Zionists Party (RZP) headed by future finance minister Bezalel Smotrich, will correct instances where the state "infringed on the rights of Israeli Jews in their own businesses," Ben-Gvir claimed in a KAN Reshet B interview on Friday morning.

According to current Israeli law, a business owner who refuses to serve customers on such grounds will, in most instances, be given a heavy fine.

The clause was added following late-night talks on Wednesday between incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners, as Netanyahu fought against the deadline to announce his ability to form a government.

 LIKUD HEAD Benjamin Netanyahu leaves coalition talks with Shas chairman Arye Deri and Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich in Jerusalem on Monday. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) LIKUD HEAD Benjamin Netanyahu leaves coalition talks with Shas chairman Arye Deri and Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich in Jerusalem on Monday. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The clause also comes after Netanyahu stressed in several interviews and statements since his election victory that his new government will not violate the rights of Israel's LGBTQ+ community.

In an earlier statement, Smotrich also defended the clause, giving the example that a "haredi (ultra-Orthodox) or religious barber should not have to shave a man's beard with a blade in his own private business."

Ben-Gvir laments loss of individual liberties

In the Friday morning interview, Ben-Gvir leaped to his bloc partner's defense, expressing his satisfaction that Smotrich "wanted it and got it."

"An owner of a Beersheba printing shop received a fine from a court for refusing to print fliers advertising the Pride Parade. Is this normal?" Ben-Gvir said. "Where are his individual liberties? A man's right to his business?"