LGBT Mass Demonstration is Israel’s Wake-Up Call

Israel’s LGBT community is undergoing a painstaking process to gain equal rights as citizens of Israel. Standing in their way are sanctimonious politicians who scorn them for showing their true nature.

Homosexuality is not an abnormality, it’s a sexual orientation. Most Israelis understand this, and stand behind the LGBT community in their quest for acceptance. Of course there are still haters among us who believe that all the gays and lesbians should be socially rejected and disqualified for job positions, if not not thrown in jail, beaten and murdered. Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of Israelis are revolted by such attitudes which were considered the norm in some western countries as recently as the last century.

Regretfully, the religious parties still hold the balance of power in the Knesset, and many holier-than-thou parliamentarians still suffer from homophobia in 2018. In accordance with their doctrinaire views, they recently voted against extending a surrogacy bill that would apply to same-sex couples. And in keeping with “coalition discipline” their political allies fell in line. This shameful action on the part of Israeli lawmakers denies gay men the right to father a child through a surrogate mother.

The response of the LGBT community was the unprecedented and widely supported strike that took place yesterday, which culminated in a massive rally at Rabin Square.

Fittingly, the strike date fell out on Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the Second Temple. Many Orthodox Jews attribute that national disaster to sinat hinam, the baseless hatred between divergent groups of Jews who lived under Roman occupation at the time of the fall of the Second Temple, which predated the Bar Kochba revolt and subsequent Jewish Diaspora.

Now a Twenty-First Century form of sinat hinam is being enacted by the religious parties, namely Shas, Yahadut Hatora and Habayit Hayehudi, against the LGBT community. And not just them. The “straights” are affected too, whether they are secular Israelis who just want to be free of religious coercion or modern Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews who understand that their religion is being hijacked by extremists in power. The warning signs are clear: The Third Temple, i.e. the Zionist Movement and all it stands for, is in danger of imploding. We are doing to ourselves what our worst enemies dream about. All they have to do is sit back and watch.

The good news, the positive trend that can forestall this self-destruction, is what we saw yesterday in the nationwide LGBT strike that enjoyed support from the Israeli business community down to the man on the street. Most Israelis are fed up with the pseudo-religious conflicts and compromises that rule over the Knesset’s appalling coalition politics. It is high time that a political association of religious zealots who couldn’t care less about democracy, the modern Jewish State or the real world is cut down to size.

For the time being, the Israeli Supreme Court must overrule the discriminatory Surrogacy Law and allow gay men to father children and start families by surrogate means.

About the Author
Avi Shamir is a freelance writer, editor, translator and the author of "Saving the Game," a novel about baseball. A Brooklyn College graduate with a BA in English, Avi has contributed to the Jerusalem Post, The Nation, Israel Scene, In English and The World Zionist Press Service.