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Israel: Knesset Deputy Speaker defends Education Minister over ‘gay couples aren’t families’ remarks

Ashley Chhibber June 30, 2014
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The Deputy Speaker of Israel’s Knesset has said that the Education Minister was wrong to apologise for claiming that same-sex couples are not families, and has lashed out at “the dominant voice among homosexuals… of censorship”.

Israel’s Minister of Education, Shai Piron, yesterday apologised for saying last week: “I think it’s a Jewish state’s right, maybe even its duty, to say to same-sex couples who decide to live their lives together – that’s not a family.”

Following the apology, however, MK (Member of Knesset, Israel’s legislative body) Moshe Feiglin wrote on Facebook to criticise the media backlash against Mr Piron’s earlier remarks, reports Israeli news website Arutz Sheva.

“Like a pack of wolves descending, at the sound of a whistle, on the poor guy who strayed from the fold, so everyone jumped on Piron,” he wrote, accusing the media of supporting attempts at “delegitimation and political assassination”.

He confirmed that he sees “family as a value under attack, a value that must be defended”, and added: “It is becoming apparent that the dominant voice among homosexuals is not one of dialogue… but a violent voice of censorship.”

He also suggested: “This bullying will eventually cause damage to the cause of the homosexuals. One can already sense the indignation it is arousing. Because force does not create legitimacy.”

Mr Feiglin, who has twice run for leadership of the centre-right Likud party, has a history of controversial statements.

In 2012, the Jerusalem Post reported that Mr Feiglin had backed out of a meeting with an LGBT group within the Likud.

He said at the time: “My intention was to tell them that as individuals I can’t tell them how to lead their lives and I can cooperate with them on different subjects, but as a group that tries to promote an ideology of their sexual orientation, I don’t think they have legitimacy, especially not in the Likud.”

In a later discussion with LGBT groups in Tel Aviv reported by the Jerusalem Post last year, Mr Feiglin said he would support the community on issues of “human rights” but added: “When you’re trying to change the value system, that pushes me into the closet!”

He has been banned from entering the United Kingdom by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, on the grounds that he “would not be conducive to the public good” and his presence “might lead to inter-community violence in the UK”.

Related topics: Feiglin, Israel, Israel, Knesset, Likud, media backlash, Middle East, Piron

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