Avi Maoz's Noam holds 'blacklist' of LGBTQ+ Israelis working in media

Noam's documents singled out LGBTQ+ members from different media outlets in order to show how the "LGBTQ+ lobby" controlled the media.

LGBTQ youth protest against far right Noam party at Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem (photo credit: Courtesy)
LGBTQ youth protest against far right Noam party at Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem
(photo credit: Courtesy)

The far-right homophobic Noam Party has been keeping track of LGBTQ+ people working in the Israeli media, documents acquired by Yediot Aharonot have shown.

An article published by the newspaper on Friday shows documents taken from the 2019 version of the anti-LGBTQ+ Noam party's online "instruction manual" - which included homophobic, anti-feminist texts and a slew of conspiracy theories.

The documents singled out LGBTQ+ members from different media outlets in order to show how the "LGBTQ+ lobby" controlled the media.

Another document singled out feminist academics whose research was used by the IDF's gender affairs advisor to the chief of staff, in order to argue that "radical feminist groups" had a toehold in the IDF's system. Another document's headline was "The Takeover of the Education System: How Liberal Organizations and Foreign Governments Control the Education Ministry."

As part of Noam's coalition agreement with the Likud, the party's representative in the Knesset, MK Avi Maoz, will receive control over a branch in the Education Ministry that is responsible for all of the external programs that are offered to schools in Israel's public school system. 

New agreement threatens to enable discrimination against LGBTQ+ Israelis

The coalition agreements between the Likud and both United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and the Religious Zionist Party (RZP) include a clause that would enable discrimination in private businesses based on religious belief, according to the full UTJ agreement which was published on Thursday, and confirmation from the spokesperson of RZP, which has yet to publish its final agreement.

 MK Avi Maoz attends an Arrangements Committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on June 21, 2021 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) MK Avi Maoz attends an Arrangements Committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on June 21, 2021 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The clause in question in the UTJ text says, "in order to anchor what was practiced for dozens of years and in order to fix a distortion of the status quo which was made recently," the law that bars discrimination in products, services and entry into public spaces on the basis of gender, ethnicity etc. would be amended so that holding gender-segregated due to religious belief will not be considered illegal discrimination. The law will also be amended so that a private business may refuse to provide a product or service due to religious belief, on the condition that a similar product or service can be found in near proximity for a similar price.

The law's nickname is the "Motti Steinmetz Law," named after a haredi musician whose gender-segregated concert in Afula was deemed illegal discrimination by the High Court in August 2019. The purpose of the law is to allow for such concerts or private printing presses that refuse to print banners promoting the gay pride parade, according to RZP's spokesperson.

"As true liberals, we believe in the freedoms of the individual and his right not to violate his faith in his private property, as long as it is not a unique product that cannot be obtained elsewhere with a reasonable effort, and thus no harm has been caused to anyone else," the party said to KAN in a statement. "For example, an ultra-Orthodox or religious barber cannot be required to shave a man's beard with a razor in his private business [the use of a razor is forbidden in halakha]," the party said.

However, the term "religious belief" is unclear, and LGBTQ+ groups warned that the law could be used to normalize discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in privately owned businesses.

"Already two decades ago, the Likud was the one that supported the law, and now Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu may reverse our rights," Hilah Pe'er, CEO of The Aguda – Israel's LGBT Task Force, said to KAN News. "The thought that any restaurant, event hall or private clinic would be allowed to discriminate against us because of our identity is a great shame and danger. We will do everything so that this plan is not realized.'