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Netanyahu slams allies over anti-LGBTQ push

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JERUSALEM: Designated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a rare rebuke of his new coalition allies for saying they would advance laws allowing discrimination against LGBTQ people, pledging there would be no harm to their rights by his upcoming government.

Netanyahu is set to form the most ultranationalist and religious government in Israel’s history between his Likud movement and several openly anti-LGBTQ parties. This has raised fears in Israel’s LGBTQ community that the new government, expected to take office in the coming week, will roll back gains they have made in recent years.

Orit Struck, a Religious Zionist member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, said on Sunday (Tel Avivtime) that her party seeks a change to the country’s anti-discrimination law that would include permitting people to avoid acts that go against their religious beliefs – including discriminating against LGBTQ people in hospitals.

Struck said in an interview on Sunday with Kan public radio that ‘‘so long as there are enough other doctors to provide care,’’ religious healthcare providers should be able refuse to treat LGBTQ patients.

Simcha Rotman, another member of the party, said that private business owners, such as hotel operators, should be allowed to refuse service to LGBTQ ‘‘if it harms their religious feelings’’.

Netanyahu issued a pair of statements repudiating Struck’s comments. He said her remarks ‘‘are unacceptable to me and to members of Likud’’, and that the coalition agreement ‘‘does not allow discrimination against LGBTQ or harming their right to receive services like all other Israeli citizens’’.

As the controversy continued to rage, he later issued a second videotaped statement saying he ‘‘completely rejects’’ Struck’s remarks.

‘‘In the country that I will lead, there will be no situation where a person, whether he is LGBT, Arab or ultra-Orthodox or any other person, will enter a hotel and not receive service, enter [a doctor’s office] and not receive service,’’ Netanyahu said.

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Article source: The Age/AP | 27.12.22

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000

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