Extend anti-incitement protection to gays, Horowitz to propose

Extend anti-incitement p

MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) was one of several MKs who announced private member's bills they plan to introduce during the Knesset's winter session, saying Sunday that he would push to extend anti-incitement laws to include those who speak out against homosexuals. Horowitz announced during a meeting of the Israel Bar Association that he would seek to widen the definition of incitement to racism to include those who incite against groups based on their religious identity, cultural background, sexual orientation, or their status as foreign workers. All of these groups are included in the law against hate crimes, but not in the law forbidding incitement to racism, which refers only to discrimination on the basis of skin color, national or ethnic identity or race. Horowitz, who is gay, worked on the bill together with a number of non-governmental organizations. "This law would correct an existing inequity and would establish a high ethical and behavioral standard for Israeli society regarding the nature of incitement," Horowitz said. "The wild incitement against the gay community that we have witnessed in recent years could have been prevented if this law already was on the books," added Horowitz. Horowitz said he was inspired to draft the bill following the August shooting murder of two young people at a gay youth outreach center in Tel Aviv. Although no one was ever arrested for the shooting, many, including Horowitz, believe the attack was spurred by anti-homosexual diatribes by prominent religious and political figures. "It is in light of this attack as well as hate-based attacks against other groups that we are obligated to defend Israeli society against incitement," Horowitz said. After the budget was passed and at least one of the government's "governance laws" - the so-called Mofaz law - was passed by the Knesset during the summer session and the recess, the Knesset is now more available to debate private members' bills, viewed by many as the bread-and-butter of parliamentary work. Potentially controversial bills like Horowitz's frequently pose challenges to coalition discipline, as the government's composite parts find themselves in disagreement on key values issues.