The new, openly gay, lawmaker of the Likud party, Amir Ohana, was greeted with praise from Israel’s Prime Minister, Netanyahu, as he replaced a minister who resigned amid sexual harassment accusations.
The swearing in ceremony of Ohana was boycotted by Ultra-Orthodox lawmakers, with a source in the United Torah Judaism party quoted by Israel’s Channel 2 as saying that they plan to “ignore him, today and altogether.”
Ohana said as he entered Knesset: “I am here with all who I am and what I am, what I chose and what I didn’t, and am proud of these and those too. Jewish, Israeli, Mizrahi, gay, Likudnik, securityist, liberal and a free market economy man.”
“What came first? Everything came together. When they persecute a Jew with cries, when they shoot, boycott, label and expel – I am a settler. When they want to blur culture, to minimize, hide – I am Mizrahi. When they burn a baby alive along with his family, the hell with it, Ya brothers, I am one of you. When they stab to death, a young woman in the parade of love and tolerance – I’m gay. A gay who does not hope for the day that will come, but gets up and brings it. A gay who understands – that the flag we bear, lesbians and homosexuals, trans and bi, is the flag of the rainbow.”
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, attended the ceremony and praised Ohana, saying: “I want make clear a point that may not be clear. In practice, Amir is the first clear, candid representative of the gay community, who was elected in open primaries when he was completely out [of the closet] and he was elected by thousands of voters in the Likud primaries. Amir represents very well our view of liberal nationalism. He believes in the rights of the Jewish people in its land, in protecting the security of the country, civil rights, capitalist economics and a free market.”.
It is rare for the Prime Minister to welcome a new lawmaker.