'Nobody cares about LGBTQ+ people' - Smotrich in surfaced recordings

In the conversation, Smotrich said that his position against the LGBTQ+ community does not hurt him politically because his voters don't care.

 FINANCE MINISTER Bezalel Smotrich, head of the Religious Zionist Party, addresses a meeting of his Knesset faction on Monday. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
FINANCE MINISTER Bezalel Smotrich, head of the Religious Zionist Party, addresses a meeting of his Knesset faction on Monday.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Religious Zionism Party leader MK Bezalel Smotrich spoke out against the LGBTQ+ community in a recorded secret conversation that came to light on a KAN Reshet Bet radio show on Monday.

In a conversation with an unknown businessman that took place a few months ago, Smotrich made it clear that if he would actively take measures against the LGBTQ+ community, it would not hurt him politically and would not cost him voters.

Smotrich can be heard saying, "Sephardic, traditional people, you think they care about gay people? Nobody cares. They say that they don't have a problem with them, 'you think I care if you [Smotrich] are against them?'"

In the secret conversation, Smotrich is asked explicitly about active measures he intends to take against the LGBTQ+ community and if he is afraid that this will cost him politically.

Smotrich sounds confident

The Religious Zionism Party leader sounds very confident when talking to the businessman.

"Come on, they [the voters] know that is how I am. They don't care. I'm the only one who didn't go with Ra'am and who protects the land of Israel for their grandkids. They will be by my side. They brought me the head of the stall committee in the Mahane Yehuda market [in Jerusalem]. That's all of them there. I need them with me, I need pictures with them. I won't stone gay people and they won't feed me shrimps."

 Religious Zionist Party MK Avi Maoz speaks with party leader Bezalel Smotrich as they arrive to a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on April 26, 2021 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Religious Zionist Party MK Avi Maoz speaks with party leader Bezalel Smotrich as they arrive to a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on April 26, 2021 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

"The Smotrich tapes remind us time and time again how weak Netanyahu is and how dangerous it is that he is held captive by racist extremists," Yesh Atid party leader MK Yair Lapid said in response to Smotrich. "This is not a question of right and left, it is not a question of Likud or Yesh Atid. It turned into a bigger question: love or hatred of humanity."

The CEO of LGBTQ Association 'The Aguda', Ran Shalhabi put out a statement responding to Smotrich: "Smotrich's obsessive preoccupation with the gay community finally reveals the truth for his voters: he is not only a homophobe but also a racist. This is not just wild incitement against the gay community, but also against the Mizrahi and traditional public who accuse him of homophobia. Smotrich we have news for you - our Masorti, Mizrachi and Sephardi friends and families - they are the ones who support us, and they are the ones who will stand by us the moment you dare to harm us, even the slightest harm. 77% of the Israeli public support our fight for equality - don't mess with the Israeli public, traditional and Mizrachi alike, the state would be paralyzed."

"The recordings that came to light are further proof that this is the most homophobic, racist and dangerous government in the country's history," said the head of the Knesset's LGBTQ+ lobby, Yesh Atid MK Nehorai Lahav Hertzanu in a statement. "The finance minister hates LGBTQ+ people and plans to use his political power to persecute and hurt people just because they are who they are. Netanyahu, you promised that there would be no harm to the gay community, now prove it. Finance Minister Smotritch cannot remain in his post for even one more moment."

Meretz Party leader Zahava Galon reacted to the recording on Twitter:

"At least now it's in the open, Smotrich calls himself 'a homophobic fascist and is racist towards Mizrahi people," said Meretz Party leader Zahava Galon. "This is a dangerous government for women, gay people, Arabs, Mizrahi people, for everyone who isn't a messianic settler. They want to discriminate, sideline and brainwash all of us. And Bibi [Netanyahu], Bibi gave them everything. Such a desecration of the Declaration of Independence has never happened."