MK Itzik Shmuli of the Zionist Union party came out of the closet on Friday, a day after a stabbing attack at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade injured six people.
The lawmaker penned a column in the Hebrew language Yedioth Ahronoth daily, under the headline: “The knife is raised on my community.”
“We cannot be silent any longer,” wrote Shmuli. “We cannot be silent any longer because the knife is raised on the entire LGBT community — my community — and it won’t stop there.”
The column was Shmuli’s first public comment on his sexuality, which was the subject of some speculation last December when a prominent LGBT activist urged Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog to dismiss the closeted MK in his party.
In a column on the Mako news website, Gal Uchovsky had urged Herzog to wrestle with the “elephant in the room.”
“Bougie, if you view yourself as the next prime minister of Israel, you must also deal with the elephant, and suggest one of the following two options: Leave the closet, or leave the Knesset,” he wrote, using Herzog’s nickname.
“Want to stay in the closet? No problem, stay at home. Want to be a Knesset member? Then there is no closet,” he wrote. Uchovsky also termed the situation “a disgrace,” “ridiculous,” and “shameful.”
Uchovsky did not name the Shmuli by name, and asked in a postscript that readers refrain from posting the Knesset member’s name in the comments, out of respect.
The column, which Herzog reportedly refused to address, drew ire from Zionist Union MKs.
Member of Knesset Micky Rosenthal claimed at the time that Uchovsky’s column was “vulgar,” according to Channel 2. “I think he really exaggerated this time. Most of his claims, in my eyes, are unfounded,” he said.
Meanwhile, MK Nahman Shai urged the activist to respect the privacy of the Knesset member in question.
“A person is allowed to protect their privacy and sexual identity, as reason and common sense dictate,” he said.
Six people were stabbed Thursday at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade by an ultra-Orthodox assailant who committed the same crime 10 years ago. Yishai Schlissel had been released from prison three weeks ago. Two of the six victims, a teenage girl and a 26-year-old man, remain in serious condition.