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Founder of anti-LGBT+ party that compared gay people to Nazis set to win seat in Israel election

Josh Milton March 24, 2021
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Participants in the 18th annual Jerusalem Pride parade in June 2019. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)

After Israel’s election, a politician who founded a party purely to attack LGBT+ rights looks set to win a seat.

Avi Maoz, founder of the anti-LGBT+ party Noam, is on track to win a seat in the 120-strong Knesset, according to exit polls published Tuesday (23 March).

Noam has compared LGBT+ advocates to Nazis and suicide bombers and was founded solely to oppose queer rights. It has long polled well below the 3.25 per cent vote threshold needed to enter the Knesset (parliament), but tactical political alliances may have paved a path to power for it.

Noam and Otzma Yehudit folded into the larger Religious Zionism Party (National Union–Tkuma) to run on the same electoral list in an effort to pass the threshold.

Moaz was sixth on this merged ticket which includes candidates from the three fringe factions.

And this alliance has paid off. Maoz, who has fiercely campaigned against same-sex adoption and IVF for same-sex couples, is projected to win a seat, The Times of Israel reported.

The bloc of ultra-conservative, ultra-Orthodox and ultra-nationalist parties was reportedly brokered by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of a desperate bid with various rival right-wing parties to secure victory.

But exit polls suggest that even cobbling together his allies’ combined votes, Netanyahu may fall short by just one seat of the 61 needed to form a majority.

The final results of the election which could end a years-long political gridlock are expected later this week.

Noam, the Israeli party formed purely to attack LGBT rights

Moaz’s arrival in the Knesset would present a fresh test to Israel’s leadership, which has sought to position itself as something of an oasis for LGBT+ folks in Western Asia.

Armed with blisteringly homophobic billboards and provocative slogans such as “Israel chooses to be normal”, Noam has said that LGBT+ people “want to destroy” families and has linked homosexuality to child trafficking.

Established in 2019, Noam waded into the legislative elections with a virulently homophobic campaign video that peddled the bizarre view that all of Israel is “going through conversion therapy”.

Screenshot from the ultra-Orthodox party’s campaign video (@Noamparty/Twitter)

The video sees a family go to vote in the elections. At the booth, they are bombarded with LGBT+ images as the wife writes on her voting slip: “Let my son marry a woman.” Yes, really.

In another alarming campaign, Noam said that the LGBT+ community has “forced its agenda” on Israel.

“Since our very birth, they’ve been trying to destroy us,” the video, set to footage of Adolf Hitler and suicide bombings from the 2000-2004 Second Intifada, states.

The video then turns to a news report about an LGBT+ Pride parade and claims: “Every year, there are people who go to Pride and come back irreversibly damaged.

“They’re destroying the family and the birthrate to prevent a Jewish majority.”

The fringe faction finds its spiritual guide in rabbi Tzvi Tau, who wrote in 2017 that being gay is the “ugliest deviation, which breaks down family life”.

More: Israel, Noam

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