Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem
Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem Israel news photo: Flash 90

Amir Ohana, the head of Likud's Gay Forum, has announced his candidacy in Likud's upcoming primaries, saying he wants to show that members of Israel's gay community, who traditionally gravitate to the Left, should not have to sacrifice right-wing beliefs. 

In an interview with Channel 10 News, Ohana, who is running for a position on Likud's Knesset list, stressed, "it is legitimate for each person to choose how he wants to live his/her life." 

However, "it is not advisable to hide [who you are]," Ohana quickly added, referring to rumors of a Labor party MK who refuses to come out of the closet. 

"This sends the message as if [being gay] were something to be ashamed of and hide." 

According to Ohana, "In the past, gays automatically voted Left, but that hegemony is breaking down now."

However, he noted, when he created the Likud's Gay Forum, several members of the gay community responded vitriolically, telling Ohana that the group was "like the Jewish collaborators during World War II." 

It is a harsh comparison for Ohana who believes "what is happening in Judea and Samaria is not an occupation but a liberation." He argues there should not be a conflict between his right-wing beliefs and the requirements of the gay community. 

This week Ohana, together with an army reserves Major, a former Shin Bet official, and Likud MK Moshe Feiglin sat in a panel before the Likud Central Committee, to discuss the major issues before the December 31, 2014 Likud primaries. 

During his remarks, Ohana challenged Feiglin over the latter's opposition to granting same-sex couples the same tax breaks as heterosexual ones.

But despite the harsh words exchanged, Ohana has described himself and Feiglin as having a “courageous friendship.” And indeed the two are not that different when it comes to political concerns and Likud's major agenda.  

Ohana, like Feiglin, supports the legalization of marijuana, and prefers a free-market economy approach over the welfare state. Both oppose a two-state solution and support the expulsion of most illegal immigrants. 

"Judea and Samaria is more Israel than Tel Aviv and Herzliya are," the Likud candidate stated. 

According to Ohana, "it is not true that the Right is insensitive to humans rights - it just sees a more complex picture. It takes into account that before the quality of life (issues) is a possible threat to other's lives that must be neutralized. Unfortunately, sometimes this can cause harm to a minority group." 

"They [the Palestinians] have the right to define themselves but not at our expense. If they want to establish a state in Jordan or elsewhere, I have no objection," Ohana noted.