Amid concerns about Maoz, Netanyahu insists he ‘will not accept’ harm to LGBT rights

Incoming presumptive prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he would not allow LGBT rights in Israel to be harmed, amid growing concern over his coalition deal with the homophobic Noam party, which gave the faction’s chairman authority over the unit of the Ministry of Education responsible for informal education. in Israeli schools.

“I just won’t accept any of that. It’s not something I’m saying now: I have a history now and a history in general of having both hands on the wheel…Ultimately I decide the policy,” Netanyahu said when asked about Noam MK Avi Maoz during an interview on “Meet the Press.”

The interview was one of three that Netanyahu has given in recent days to the US press, several of which have highlighted fears that hardline lawmakers will take key positions in Israel’s next government. The Likud leader has yet to give similar interviews to the Israeli press, which has also sounded the alarm about the Likud’s coalition deal with Noam and other elements of the incoming coalition’s stated agenda.

The deal will give Maoz, who has said she will work to end women’s service in the IDF and the annual Jerusalem pride parade, among other things, authority over unofficial bodies invited to teach or lecture in schools.

Maoz will also be appointed deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office tasked with running a new national “Jewish identity” government agency, which will have a budget of at least NIS 100 million ($29 million) and more than a dozen employees.

More than 50 municipalities and more than 300 school directors from all over the country have joined the protests against cooperation with Maoz in the next government.

Amid concerns about Maoz, Netanyahu insists he 'will not accept' harm to LGBT rights Image from iOS 24 1

MK Avi Maoz, left, and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu after signing a coalition agreement on November 27, 2022. (Courtesy, Likud)

Netanyahu was also asked on Sunday about his decision to include far-right Otzma Yehudit President Itamar Ben Gvir in the next government, given his previous convictions on terrorism-related charges. Netanyahu noted that Israel’s Supreme Court had rejected petitions to ban Ben Gvir from running, noting that those who criticized some of his potential coalition partners fell silent when the Islamist Ra’am party was included in the outgoing government. Netanyahu also tried to woo Ra’am last year when he was short of several lawmakers to form a coalition.

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The prime minister-designate was asked if his next government would amend the so-called grandfather clause of the Law of Return that allows people with at least one Jewish grandparent immigrate to israel as long as they do not practice another religion.

All of Likud’s coalition partners, and even members of Netanyahu’s own party, have expressed support for narrowing the scope of the law, seeking to significantly reduce the number of immigrants to Israel who are not Jewish according to orthodox interpretations of the law. jewish law.

This would primarily have a major influence on immigration from the former Soviet Union, but prominent American Jewish leaders have also spoken against such reforms.

“I doubt we’ll have any change” in the Law of Return, Netanyahu told NBC: while acknowledging that there is likely to be a “big debate” on the matter under the next government.

The Likud leader, who said he hopes to finalize the formation of his next coalition in the coming days, was asked about former US President Donald Trump’s dinner last month with anti-Semites Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.

Amid concerns about Maoz, Netanyahu insists he 'will not accept' harm to LGBT rights Untitled 24 1

Then, US President Donald Trump welcomes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House in Washington, on March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Netanyahu has already condemned the dinner, as well as West and Fuentes themselves, and he did it again on Sunday. But he was also careful to praise Trump for a series of pro-Israel measures he advanced as president, including recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the US embassy there, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Heights of the Golan and get the US out of Iran. nuclear deal

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“He has done everything [of] these great things, and I appreciate it, and still do. [But] about…Kanye West and that other unacceptable guest, I think it’s not just unacceptable, it’s just wrong,” Netanyahu said. “I hope he sees a way to stay out of it and condemn it.”

Netanyahu was seen to have a very close relationship with Trump when they were both in government. But Trump, after his defeat in the 2020 election, expressed his deep discontent with the Likud leader over the latter’s decision to congratulate Joe Biden on winning that election and also claimed that Netanyahu was not interested in making peace with him. the Palestinians.

The incoming prime minister compared his effort to balance values ​​and interests in shaping his next government to Biden’s decision to meet world leaders with whom he had differences of opinion. “For me, the dividing line is very clear. When it comes to questions about our existence, safeguarding our existence comes first.”

“I am going to safeguard Israeli democracy, I am going to bring peace, categorically… and I am going to stop Iran. For that I am going back and with that I commit myself, ”she said.

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Amid concerns about Maoz, Netanyahu insists he 'will not accept' harm to LGBT rights Tal Schneider

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