Less than a week after Yisrael Beytenu MK Anastassia Michaeli offered the opinion that homosexuals are miserable people who “commit suicide at the age of 40,” another right-wing politician said gays should not be drafted into the military.
Speaking on the official Knesset TV channel, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said that homosexuals who “flaunt their sexuality like a banner” have no place in the Israel Defense Forces, as their lifestyle and values are not compatible with the Jewish values.
Ariel couched his rhetoric in biblical references, saying that homosexuality must have been common among the peoples inhabiting the land of Israel when the Israelites returned to the promised land from Egypt, which accounts for the staunch prohibitions of homosexuality found in the Bible.
“I believe we should conduct ourselves in accord with the values of Judaism, as we did for thousands of years, and those values outlaw this phenomenon,” said Ariel. “Does punishment help? In this particular case, I do not know. The Torah does not cover or hide anything, but lays everything in the open.”
The IDF has no prohibitions against drafting gays and often touts its gay-friendly policies. Earlier this month, the army published a picture purporting to show two gay soldiers walking hand in hand, though the photo was later revealed to have been staged.
Ariel is no stranger to controversy. During German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Israel, he was opposed to her speaking German before the Knesset, saying the Germans “are the mother of all Amalekites.”
Meretz MK Nitzan Horovitz, himself gay, slammed Michaeli for her comments last week, saying she was not alone.
“The only way to combat such comments and discrimination against the gay community is by legislation,” Horowitz said then.