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Monday, January 30, 2023

Netanyahu vows not to allow anti-LGBT laws in Israel

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Israel’s Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu pledged that his coalition government will not pass bills allowing discrimination against LGBTs and denying them access to services.

His remarks came in response to statements by two of his extreme-right partners on Sunday, in which they vowed to pass laws allowing physicians and business owners to discriminate against LGBT people.

Orit Struck, a lawmaker with the pro-settler Religious Zionist Party, said in an interview with the state-owned Kan radio that her party is determined to change Israel’s anti-discrimination law so that it would permit doctors to avoid acts that contradict their religious beliefs.

Simcha Rotman, another lawmaker with the party, told Kan radio that owners of private businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, would be allowed to refuse service to LGBTQ people “if it harms their religious sentiments.”

In a rare rebuke of his extreme-right partners, Netanyahu issued a video statement, saying that the remarks were “unacceptable.”

According to Netanyahu, “the coalition agreements do not permit discrimination against LGBTs or to harm their rights to receive services as any other citizen in Israel.”

Netanyahu announced last week that he succeeded in forming a new coalition government with three far-right parties and two Jewish ultra-Orthodox parties. The new government, which is expected to be sworn in by Thursday, will be the most rightist in Israeli history and includes many members who openly oppose LGBT rights.

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