Jewish Home MK in Hot Water for 'Anti-Gay' Remarks

MKs from Left and Right rush to condemn Bezalel Smotrich, while Ometz files petition against him with Knesset Ethics Committee.

Cynthia Blank,

MK Bezelel Smotrich
MK Bezelel Smotrich
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The Ometz movement has filed a complaint with Knesset Ethics Committee against MK Bezalel Smotrich of Jewish Home. 

"The Ometz movement is issuing a strong complaint against MK Bezalel Smotrich, with regard to the severe comments he made against the LGBT community," chairman Aryeh Avnery wrote in a letter to Ethics Committee chairman Yitzhak Vaknin of Shas. 

Smotrich stirred controversy recently when he refused to back down from calling the annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem the "abomination parade."

Later, the MK claimed that homosexuals control Israel's media by "determin[ing] for all of us what we should think and what we should say" and thereby silencing someone with views such as his own. 

Avnery noted these anti-gay remarks in his letter, as well as Smotrich's organization of the so-called "Beast Parade" in protest of Jerusalem's gay pride parade in 2006. 

According to Avnery, Smotrich has "never stopped his constant attacks on member of the gay community" and therefore the group "wants to punish him to the fullest."

MKs from the Left and Right were also quick to attack Smotrich for the controversial comments, including his own party leader Naftali Bennett, who asserted "every person, no matter who they are, deserves respect."

Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) slammed Smotrich for his "closed-minded and racist comments," while MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Union) called to have him removed from his position as Deputy Knesset Speaker. 

"His comments remind me, in a sickening way, of comments made by the worst of our enemies. He's not the first to claim an entire group was ruling the media - many anti-Semites said that about our people," she charged.