Anti-LGBTQ+ MK Avi Maoz, Netanyahu meet ahead of coalition negotiations

On Monday, Avi Maoz called for full Orthodox control over the Western Wall.

 Benjamin Netanyahu and Avi Maoz meet ahead of coalition negotiations. (photo credit: LIKUD SPOKESPERSON)
Benjamin Netanyahu and Avi Maoz meet ahead of coalition negotiations.
(photo credit: LIKUD SPOKESPERSON)

Incoming prime minister MK Benjamin Netanyahu met anti-LGBTQ MK Avi Maoz on Tuesday afternoon as part of a series of meetings with faction leaders that began on Sunday.

Maoz is number 11 on the Religious Zionist Party (RZP) list but represents his own faction.

“The meeting with Netanyahu was matter-of-fact and held in good spirits,” Maoz said after the meeting. “We presented to the prime minister-elect our worldview, according to which there is a need to remove all of the anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish contents that were slipped into the Education System, as well as the need to strengthen the Jewish character of the state. We hope that with God’s help we will quickly form a Jewish and nationalist government, and I believe Noam will be a part of it,” Maoz said.

Maoz’s initial election plan was to run independently in the election, but a meeting between Netanyahu and Noam spiritual leader Rabbi Tzvi Tau shortly before lists were finalized on September 15 led to the party joining RZP so as not to waste votes under the electoral threshold.

The announcement came following a report by Channel 7 earlier on Tuesday that Maoz was considering joining the opposition due to Netanyahu’s delay in meeting him, as most of the meetings occurred already on Sunday.

According to the report, Maoz deduced from the delay that there were elements in the Likud who did not want him to join the coalition due to his anti-LGBTQ views, and therefore Noam was considering “challenging the government from the Right and against the progressive madness.”

What is Maoz planning for the Western Wall?

Members of the Women of the Wall, Conservative and Reform Movement  hold Rosh Hodesh prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Old City, March 4, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)Members of the Women of the Wall, Conservative and Reform Movement hold Rosh Hodesh prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Old City, March 4, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Maoz said on Monday that one of his coalition demands would be for the ultra-orthodox rabbinate to assert complete control over the Western Wall, including a section set aside for non-Orthodox prayer.

“The coalition demand by the ‘Noam’ party… is a disaster for Judaism and a disaster for the State of Israel,” the NGO Women of the Wall said in response.

“The Western Wall belongs to every Jew, regardless of who they are, in Israel and in the Diaspora, and not just to Avi Maoz his fellow bullies, who are trying to appropriate for themselves the ownership of the Judaism’s holiest place.

"The Western Wall belongs to every Jew, regardless of who they are, in Israel and in the Diaspora, and not just to Avi Maoz and his fellow bullies, who are trying to appropriate for themselves the ownership of Judaism's holiest site."

Women of the Wall

“We call on Prime Minister-elect Netanyahu to set red lines and not allow the extremist, divisive and inciting elements to set the tone at the Western Wall and in his government in general,” Women of the Wall said.

Avi Maoz threatens LGBTQ+ rights

Maoz said in an interview on Army Radio on Friday that he would “examine the option of canceling gay pride parades and other benefits and rights of the LGBTQ community.”

Netanyahu responded by saying “behind closed doors,” that “there will be no obstruction of gay pride parades or the status quo in all things relating to the LGBTQ community.”

Maoz also previously spoke in support of gay conversion therapy. “When we get in control, and the Health Ministry will be ours... we’ll prioritize conversion therapy,” Maoz said in a February interview, following a ban on conversion therapy approved by the outgoing government.

“Any attempt to infringe on the rights and the fabric of life of the Israeli LGBTQ+ community will lead to widespread public outcry,” Israeli gay advocacy group The Aguda said in response to Friday’s report, adding that they expect Netanyahu to state his support for the LGBTQ+ community “publicly, rather than as a leak from a behind-closed-doors meeting.”

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.