Israeli doctors reject Netanyahu ally's anti-LGBTQ remarks

Israel’s largest medical center and healthcare workers from hospitals around the country have spoken out against remarks by allies of Benjamin Netanyahu calling for a law to allow discrimination against LGBTQ people in hospitals and businesses

Isaac Scharf
Tuesday 27 December 2022 09:38 GMT
Israel-Politics
Israel-Politics (ABIR SULTAN)

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Israel’s largest medical center and healthcare workers from hospitals around the country have spoken out against remarks by allies of Benjamin Netanyahu calling for a law to allow discrimination against LGBTQ people in hospitals and businesses.

It was part of a broader blowback against remarks made this week by Religious Zionism politicians calling for legal discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Netanyahu’s new government — the most religious and hard-line in Israel’s history — is made up of ultra-Orthodox parties, an ultranationalist religious faction, and his Likud party. It is to be sworn in on Thursday.

Earlier this week, two Netanyahu allies from the ultranationalist Religious Zionism party said that their faction seeks to change an anti-discrimination law in a way that would permit businesses and doctors to deny service to LGBTQ people on the basis of religious belief.

Orit Struck, a Religious Zionist lawmaker, said her party seeks a change to the country’s anti-discrimination law that would include allowing religious healthcare providers to refuse to treat LGBTQ patients “so long as there are enough other doctors to provide care.”

Sheba Medical Center released a video on Instagram of healthcare workers from around the country on Monday saying “we treat everyone.” Similar statements were made by doctors and administrators at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.

Netanyahu later rebuked Struck for her remarks, saying there would be no curtailing of LGBTQ rights under the new government.

Yated Neeman, a newspaper affiliated with one of the ultra-Orthodox parties in Netanyahu’s coalition, published an editorial against the Religious Zionism politicians, saying they were “defaming Judaism worldwide" and branding the future government as “one that persecutes Arabs, minorities and discriminates against people on the basis of religion and more.”

Several Israeli companies said they would not work with businesses that discriminate against clients for religious reasons.

Bank Discount, Israel’s third largest bank, said Monday that its board decided that it “would not grant credit to businesses or bodies that discriminate against clients on the basis of religion, race, sex or sexual orientation.”

Wiz, an Israeli cybersecurity company, expressed “grave concern” over Religious Zionism politicians’ remarks and said it would require companies hiring its services to commit not to discriminate against its clients.

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