On this day in 2015: Haredi MKs walk out when openly-gay Ohana sworn in

In 2015, United Torah Judaism and Shas staged a walk-out when Amir Ohana was sworn into Knesset. Will they do the same again?

Then-Justice Minister Amir Ohana takes part in the 2015 Tel Aviv Pride Parade. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Then-Justice Minister Amir Ohana takes part in the 2015 Tel Aviv Pride Parade.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Seven years ago, Amir Ohana was sworn into the Knesset for the first time. He replaced Likud Party veteran Silvan Shalom who had resigned after a lengthy parliamentary career. 

But when Ohana, an openly gay man who lives with a partner and their two children in Tel Aviv, took to the podium to swear allegiance to the state, MKs from United Torah Judaism and Shas – the two ultra-Orthodox parties – walked out of the plenum. 

“I am here with everything that I am – what I chose to be and what I did not choose – and am proud of both,” Ohana said back in 2015.

On Thursday, Ohana will again take to the Knesset podium, this time to serve as the speaker of the Knesset, a job he was asked to fill by incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 Amir Ohana, Newly appointed Israeli Justice Minister seen during a welcome ceremony for him at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem on June 23, 2019.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90) Amir Ohana, Newly appointed Israeli Justice Minister seen during a welcome ceremony for him at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem on June 23, 2019. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

And this time, the haredi MKs from Shas and UTJ will not be able to walk out. Their votes will be needed to ensure that Ohana’s appointment passes in face of resistance from the Opposition. 

Ohana, 46, has served as both justice and public security minister. He is the only openly gay Likud parliamentarian, let alone minister and, in the past was a strong advocate for gay rights although he has been noticeably silent in recent weeks amid the attacks against the LGBTQ+ community by his future coalition partners.