Cabinet set to approve appointment of anti-LGBTQ Avi Maoz to educational role

Head of homophobic Noam party to get authority over schools’ external programming, with many municipalities as well as national parents association vowing to oppose him

Noam party leader Avi Maoz speaks during a function meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on December 5, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Noam party leader Avi Maoz speaks during a function meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on December 5, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The cabinet is set to approve on Sunday the transfer of the Education Ministry department that oversees external programming to homophobic MK Avi Maoz of the one-man Noam faction, as agreed in Maoz’s coalition deal with Likud.

Maoz’s appointment as overseer of a key component of students’ curriculum has raised an outpouring of criticism and concern, with numerous local municipalities saying they will not allow the introduction of anti-LGBTQ or otherwise illiberal content for their schools.

The National Parents Association has said that “there is no place for illiberal positions in the general education system” and vowed to fight any attempt to introduce such content.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted he would not allow harm to come to LGBTQ rights in Israel.

The LGBTQ rights group Hoshen told Walla news Friday: “The same people who told us there would be no harm to the LGBTQ community are going to vote on Sunday… for a declared homophobe who has made it his purpose to extricate content on tolerance from the education system.”

It said anyone voting for such a person “is aiding hatred, division and harm to youth.” It called on Likud “to stop this madness.”

As a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Maoz is also set to be given a new “Jewish identity” office and power over immigration policies.

In December, he sparked outrage by comparing the outgoing government to the Hellenizing Jews cast as the villains of the Hanukkah story, delivering a speech to the Knesset against the “darkness” of progressive values.

“The spirit that the Greeks and the Hellenists tried to instill in the Jewish people is the real darkness,” Maoz said, after singing several lines from the popular Hanukkah song, “We Came to Expel the Darkness.”

“Anyone who tries to harm real Judaism is the darkness,” he said. “Anyone who tries to create a new so-called liberal religion is the darkness. Anyone who — with intentional concealment and obfuscation — tries to brainwash the children of Israel with their agendas, without the knowledge of the parents, is the darkness.”

Maoz also spoke out against the state of schooling, claiming it was “influenced by foreign countries, by foreign funds and organizations and by foreign agendas.”

Maoz, whose one-man Noam faction was elected as part of an alliance with the far-right Religious Zionism party, campaigned on a platform of intolerance for gays and non-Orthodox streams of Judaism, with billboards describing homosexuality and Reform Judaism as abnormalities. He is considered among the most extreme lawmakers in the government.

Maoz has promised to work to roll back rights for the LGBTQ community and implement rules banning public transportation on Saturday, among other conservative agenda items.

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