A religious lesbian who rejects Jerusalem Pride is running for Israeli parliament
Orthodox lesbian Lisa Liel is standing for Israeli parliament.
Liel’s candidacy is on behalf of a new right-wing party, Zehut, which was formed by Moshe Feiglin, a politician who 10 years ago declared himself “a proud homophobe.”
Now, as head of Zehut, Feiglin told The Jerusalem Post that he “doesn’t check who people sleep with” and has welcomed Liel to the party.
She is running in Tuesday’s Zehut primary.
Liel is a Chicago-raised immigrant who moved to Israel in 2015. If elected, she would be the first openly lesbian member of the Knesset since Marcia Friedman, who came out after completing one term in 1977.
The 54-year-old, who has a daughter with her partner of 19 years, has a complicated relationship with the LGBT community.
She does not consider herself a gay activist and has opposed Jerusalem gay pride parade from the start.
“Being gay is part of who I am, just like having brown hair and brown eyes,” Liel said, adding that being a lesbian has become “less and less of a challenge over the years.”
When asked why she wants to be a politician, Liel said: “There are things that need to be done.
I spend a lot of time complaining about what the government does, and I realised that complaining wasn’t very productive, and if I wanted changes, I would have to do them myself.”
Liel said she was suitable for the role because of her programming background.
“I’m a problem solver. It’s what I do.
“I design programming systems from the ground up. It all has to fit together.
“The same is true of the country. You can’t deal with one small area. One part fits with another part.”
She added that she wanted to restore a sense of ownership of the Knesset to the public.
“The Knesset and the government need to stop looking at themselves as rulers,” she said.
“They don’t see themselves as beholden to the citizenry.
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“I want to create a customer service department. The citizens of Israel should be sovereign.”
Though the head of her party, Feiglin, cancelled a meeting with the LGBT community in March 2013 after a backlash, he also has a close friendship with gay Israeli MP Amir Ohana.
Liel is hopeful about her party’s prospects of winning seats.
“We’re going to be the surprise of the election,” she said.
“We haven’t even started campaigning and polls say people want to vote for us.”