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‘Most homophobic’ minister in Israel, who thinks all LGBT+ people are sinners, tests positive for COVID-19

Lily Wakefield April 7, 2020
Israel health minister Yaakov Litzman

Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has tested positive for coronavirus. (JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty)

Yaakov Litzman, health minister for Israel, who said all LGBT+ people are sinners has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to The Times of Israel, Litzman, 71, has been accused of violating his own ministry’s guidelines on social distancing in order to continue to attend prayer services.

As well as being Israel’s health minister, he also leads the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party and witnesses said he was seen praying at the home of another member of his sect three days after indoor services were banned.

His own department’s guidelines became stricter, barring prayer services altogether, but Litzman was later seen attending a service at a synagogue near his home.

He and his wife Chava have now contracted COVID-19, and as a result of recent contact with him, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several other top government officials have been forced to self-isolate for 15 days.

His office has denied all accusations that he broke his own social distancing rules.

In 2016, the health minister voted against allowing same-sex civil unions, same-sex couples adopting, educating health professionals about gender identity and sexual orientation, prohibiting conversion therapy and giving same-sex partners of killed soldiers the same the benefits as opposite-sex couples.

He also said that LGBT+ people were “sinners”, comparing them to Israelites in the Bible worshipping the golden calf.

According to Arutz Sheva, also known as Israel National News, Litzman has been described as Israel’s “most homophobic minister”.

A bill by the openly gay justice minister Amir Ohana to expand Israeli hate crime law to protect transgender people was removed from the agenda in the Knesset, the national legislature of Israel, in 2016.

David Bitton, who removed the bill, was accused by Ohana of giving in to pressure from the health minister.

Ohana said Bitton had acquiesced “to the most homophobic minister in the history of the state of Israel and the minister who is so popular among the Israeli public.

“Yaakov Litzman, who is so afraid of the words ‘gender identity’ that he threatens to break up the coalition if they enter the law books under his watch.”

Last month, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi in Israel claimed that that the current outbreak of coronavirus, or COVID-19, was divine punishment from God because of Pride parades.

An earlier version of this article referenced two inaccurate reports regarding Yaakov Litzman blaming the coronavirus pandemic on homosexuality. This has since been corrected.

More: Benjamin Netanyahu, Coronavirus, COVID-19, health minister, Homosexuality, Israel, Yaakov Litzman

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