There are four flag poles outside the Israel Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. One is typically reserved for the national flag of visiting foreign dignitaries. June is “Gay Pride Month,” and Israel is keen to promote itself as a place of tolerance for the LGBT community. So on Monday, new Foreign Minister Yair Lapid ordered that the fourth flag pole fly the gay pride flag.
This morning I instructed that the Pride flag be raised for the first time ever at the Foreign Ministry to mark Pride Month. The MFA & its employees bring a message of tolerance, unity & freedom. pic.twitter.com/9o0f5yuUfc
— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid???? (@yairlapid) June 21, 2021
Opposition lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir from the Religious Zionism party responded in anger. In an open letter to Lapid, he wrote:
“This has damaged the faith of tens of thousands of Jerusalem’s residents as well as the dignity of the city. It is an illegal act.
“I don’t have a problem with LGBT people; we are all brothers. But at the same time, waving the flag doesn’t serve them. Rather, it hurts them and turns them into pawns in Lapid’s hands. The central problem is the extroversion and provocation to which Israeli children are exposed.”