Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the far-right party Religious Zionism, compared recognition for Israel’s LGBTQ community to “driving through a red light” in an interview last week.
Religious Zionism chairman Bezalel Smotrich, who has called himself ‘a proud homophobe’ compares recognition for Israel’s LGBTQ community to ‘driving through a red light’ on an Israeli talkshow.
Speaking on the talk show Ofira and Berkovic, Smotrich said “I don’t think that it is something right, good or healthy for society.”
When one of the hosts, former Israeli footballer Eyal Berkovic, asked Smotrich what is the problem with giving the LGBTQ community recognition, the far-right lawmaker quipped: “I want to drive through a red light, and I want recognition.”
“I believe that traditional families are the right thing,” Smotrich added.
Religious Zionism, an amalgam of far-right parties, is predicted to become the third-largest party in the Knesset with 14 seats according to recent polls, and would form a key part of any right-wing government led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Long outspoken in his views, Bezalel Smotrich has described himself as a “proud homophobe” and blamed one of Israel’s COVID waves on the Tel Aviv Pride Parade. In 2006, Smotrich organized a counterprotest to Jerusalem Pride, the so-called “Beast Parade” where the participants marched with animals to depict the “impurity” of homosexuality, though he has since expressed regret for the event.
Before the deadline to submit slates for Israel’s upcoming election, Religious Zionism agreed to incorporate an even more radical anti -LGBTQ party, Noam, onto the backend of its list, with its leader Avigdor Maoz taking the 11th slot.
Noam invokes “Jewish identity,” “family values” and fights against what they call “post-modernism” in a hardline stance against LGBTQ citizens, which includes a blanket denial of any legal recognition of their households and combatting education toward tolerating them.