Likud taps its first openly gay MK to replace Shalom
search
Temple Mount activist Glick is 1 slot away from Knesset seat

Likud taps its first openly gay MK to replace Shalom

Amir Ohana, a lawyer, IDF reservist officer and Shin Bet veteran, vows to ‘do my best for the State of Israel’

File: Likud party politician Amir Ohana (left) and his partner seen at Ben Gurion International Airport as they arrive back from the US with their surrogate babies, on September 26, 2015. (Flash90)
File: Likud party politician Amir Ohana (left) and his partner seen at Ben Gurion International Airport as they arrive back from the US with their surrogate babies, on September 26, 2015. (Flash90)

As No. 32 on the Likud list of prospective parliamentarians, Amir Ohana, head of the right-wing party’s gay forum, is set to enter the Knesset this week after veteran member of Knesset and Interior Minister Silvan Shalom’s resignation Sunday amid numerous complaints of sexual harassment.

Ohana, a lawyer by training who is also a major in the reserves and a veteran of the Shin Bet domestic security service, will be the first openly gay MK in a right-wing party and only the second in the current Knesset.

“It was expected that I would enter at some point during the current Knesset,” Ohana said to Channel 2 Sunday evening. “At the same time, it unfortunately happened under unhappy circumstances. I will do my best for the State of Israel.”

Living in Tel Aviv with his partner and their four-month-old twins, whom they brought to Israel after a surrogacy process in the US, Ohana has been active in promoting LGBT rights among his party’s representatives.

Likud member Amir Ohana arrives to casts his vote at the party's primary elections in Tel Aviv, December 31, 2014. (Flash90)
Likud member Amir Ohana arrives to casts his vote at the party’s primary elections in Tel Aviv, December 31, 2014. (Flash90)

In the wake of April’s deadly earthquake in Nepal, Ohana helped bring back Israeli same-sex couples who had been stranded in the country while going through their own surrogacy processes. The crisis aroused hopes among some that Israeli lawmakers would examine the possibility of surrogacy reform.

Interior Minister Silvan Shalom on May 17, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Interior Minister Silvan Shalom on May 17, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Ohana will most likely be sworn in this week.

Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuli, the only sitting LGBT Knesset member, came out of the closet in late July following a stabbing at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade that killed one and injured five.

Although Likud won 30 seats in the March elections, members further down on the party list have entered the Knesset as others have left. When Danny Danon was named ambassador to the UN in August, No. 31 on the list, Sharren Haskel, took his spot.

Likud MK Oren Hazan is currently suspended temporarily from parliamentary debates over a series of ethics complaints against him, but retains the right to vote.

Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick at his home in Jerusalem, March 12, 2015 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick at his home in Jerusalem, March 12, 2015 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Should one other Likud MK leave the Knesset, the next in line would be right-wing Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick, who advocates allowing Jewish prayer on the mount. The controversial Glick was critically injured in an assassination attempt by a Palestinian gunman in October 2014 after giving a speech at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

Glick’s potential entrance could be contentious amid the ongoing terror wave, during which Palestinians have claimed that Israel is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, which Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. For its part, Israel vehemently denies any such plans, stressing that the administrative situation at the holy site has remained the same for decades.

Update: The allegations against Shalom were not substantiated and the investigation was subsequently closed.

read more:
comments