The Likud’s first openly gay member of Knesset was officially sworn in last week with the noticeable absence of all members of the two ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism. And he had absolutely no problem with that.
Amir Ohana moved into the Knesset thanks to the retirement of Likud heavyweight and former Interior Minister Silvan Shalom amidst a sexual misconduct scandal.
In his swearing-in speech, Ohana stated that he was entering the Knesset “with everything that I am – the things I chose to be and those I didn’t – and I’m proud of both. Jew, Israeli, Mizrahi, gay, Likudnik, defense man, liberal, and a believer in free economy.”
Told later about the apparent boycott of the ceremony by religious MKs, Ohana said he hadn’t noticed, but would be pleased if “in all subjects regarding LGBT rights they will continue to be absent. That would be wonderful.”
For his part, Netanyahu said he was proud to welcome Ohana into the Knesset:
"Amir is the first representative of the LGBT community who was elected in open primaries while who he is was completely out in the open, and he was elected by thousands of voters in the Likud primaries.
“He represents our views of liberal nationalism well. He believes in the right of the Jewish people to their country, protecting the state’s security, civil rights, free economy and a free market. …I think he will make an excellent MK and serve as a bridge between the different parts of the public. I welcome him with appreciation and pride.”