Paul Duer |
Tel Aviv (EFE) widespread against different minorities.
“My problem is not with specific people but with the LGTBI ideology and its political movement,” said Avi Maoz, Israel’s deputy religious minister in charge of education and migration policies, during the swearing in of the new Israeli Executive less than a month ago.
To statements like this, common among ministers of the new government, actions are also added, such as the inclusion in the coalition agreements of a clause that calls for amending the anti-discrimination law so that merchants or even doctors can refuse to provide service to those who ” hurt their religious beliefs and sentiments.”
I scream in the sky
Given this, representatives of the LGTBI community have raised their voices and anticipated that they will fight to the end to protect the rights they have achieved and of which Israel used to boast. In fact, Tel Aviv annually hosts the largest Pride Parade in the Middle East, an event that successive governments have defended as an example of the country’s liberal and democratic values.
“For a long time I dismissed them, I said that nothing was going to happen, that they were inapplicable policies, but now reality shows us something else, we are following models like the one in Hungary, and that forces us to intensify our fight,” he explained to EFE. Hila Peer, president of AGUDÁ, an organization of the Israeli LGTBI collective.
Figures collected by this organization reflect a 75% increase in homophobic incidents in the last year, something that, according to Peer, shows that even before the application of specific policies, “rhetoric is enough to generate a climate of violence in the streets.” .
His NGO and several others have urged the population to demonstrate and organized multiple protests, in addition to joining the massive anti-government demonstrations that have taken place in Tel Aviv in recent weeks, in which many banners and flags clamored against the offensive. to the LGTBI community.
One of the most active organizations is Havrutá, which represents the religious Jews of this community. This group feels especially threatened, especially due to its religious, geographical, community and even ideological closeness, with some of the politicians who are driving the offensive against their rights.
Many of its members regret having voted for Netanyahu and his associates prioritizing security or economic issues, while admitting surprise at the government’s onslaught against them.
“Suddenly the religious authorities feel more empowered to express their opinions against us,” Shay Bramson, president of Havrutá, tells EFE, whose telephone support line has not stopped ringing in recent weeks.
The central concern, he reveals, is conversion therapy, outlawed at the beginning of last year and which they anticipate could be authorized again under this government, the most right-wing and religious in the history of Israel.
Bramson says that he himself was forced to undergo these therapies during his adolescence, widely spread in religious sectors and the focus of his organization’s activism.
This activism, he specifies, not only takes place in the streets but also in the religious media and even in the corridors of Parliament, where they maintain frequent contacts even with some of the Executive’s parties.
“Our fight is not against the Government but against specific policies directed towards us and towards other minorities, such as women or the Arab population of Israel, since we consider that they are policies that go against the State and against the values of Judaism”, he clarifies. .
The defense of other minorities has led LGTBI organizations to get involved in the protest movement against the judicial reform promoted by the new coalition, which would grant more power to the Government to the detriment of Justice, whose independence would be profoundly weakened.
This reform, which could jeopardize the Israeli liberal democracy model, includes a clause that would allow a simple majority of parliamentarians to annul decisions of the Supreme Court, known for its defense of minority rights.
Peer, from AGUDÁ, is concerned about the impact of said reform on the ground and believes that the LGTBI community represents “the front line of battle.”
«We are a very strong and organized group, and I think they come for us first because we are the ones who have the most support from society in general. That is why I think we must stand firm and work together, because if we fall, the rest of the minorities will fall behind us, “Peer closes.