Israeli Doctors Reject Anti-LGBTQ Statements From Netanyahu Allies

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s largest medical center and hospital health workers across the country have spoken out against comments by Benjamin Netanyahu allies calling for a law allowing discrimination against LGBTQ people in hospitals. and business.

It was part of a broader pushback against comments made this week by Religious Zionist politicians calling for legal discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Netanyahu’s new government — the most religious and hardline in Israel’s history — is made up of ultra-Orthodox parties, an ultra-nationalist religious faction, and its Likud party. He will be sworn in on Thursday.

Earlier this week, two Netanyahu allies from the ultranationalist Religious Zionism party said their faction is seeking to change an anti-discrimination law. in a way that would allow companies and doctors to deny service to LGBTQ people based on religious beliefs.

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

Sheba Medical Center posted a video on Instagram of healthcare workers from across the country on Monday saying “we treat everyone.” Doctors and administrators at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon made similar statements.

Netanyahu then chastised Struck for his comments, saying LGBTQ rights would not be curtailed under the new government.

The uproar could be a sign of what’s in store for Netanyahu and his new government. His associates are seeking sweeping changes that could alienate large sections of the Israeli public, increase the risk of conflict with the Palestinians and put Israel on a collision course with some of its closest supporters, including the United States and the community. American Jew..

Netanyahu has tried to present himself as the responsible adult in the coalition and has already issued a series of statements guaranteeing the protection of the rights of LGBTQ people. But his associates are influential because they support new legislation that could ultimately freeze or dismiss criminal charges. against Netanyahu.

The longtime leader, who served 12 consecutive years before being ousted last year, has already agreed to put a hardline politician known for his anti-Arab views in charge of the national police. and put another hardline settler leader in charge of West Bank settlement policies.

A third religious lawmaker who opposes LGBTQ rights has been given broad authority over the nation’s education systemand Netanyahu has also reportedly agreed to increase unpopular allowances for ultra-Orthodox men who do not work or serve in the military.

Yated Neeman, a newspaper affiliated with one of Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox coalition parties, published an editorial against Religious Zionist politicians, saying they were “smearing Judaism throughout the world” and calling the future government “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 companies that discriminate against customers on religious grounds.

Bank Discount, Israel’s third-largest bank, said Monday that its board decided that it “would not extend credit to companies or organizations that discriminate against customers based on religion, race, sex or sexual orientation.”

Wiz, an Israeli cybersecurity firm, expressed “grave concern” over comments by Religious Zionist politicians and said it would require companies that hire its services to pledge not to discriminate against their clients.

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