Israeli Defense Minister Tells LGBT Crowd He Backs Marriages for All

'It's every person's human right, without regard to race, sex, or sexual orientation,' says Likud's Moshe Yaalon at pre-election panel on LGBT issues.

Moshe Yaalon
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon speaking at the pre-election LGBT panel in Tel Aviv, Feb. 6, 2015. Moti Milrod

Israel's defense minister backed the notion of same-sex marriages at an LGBT elections panel in Tel Aviv on Friday, as the smaller parties bickered with each other over who best carries the mantle of LGBT rights in Israel.

"We should allow members of the community to conduct family life, including marriage," said Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon of Likud, as reported by Ynet. "It's every person's human right, without regard to race, sex, or sexual orientation."

Yaalon positioned himself as the LGBT community's ambassador, noting that the Israeli army has led the way on LGBT rights.

The panel of party leaders presented their positions on matters important to the LGBT community, foremost among them same-sex marriage. Some of the panel framed their positions in a way to attack their opponents.

Yair Lapid, the head of Yesh Atid, said that two days before his party published its list of Knesset candidates someone asked him who would be the LGBT representative. "I told him, 'Yes, me,'" he said. "I am the representative of the pride community."

Tzipi Livni of Zionist Camp attacked Lapid, saying that she defends "the rights of all citizens of Israel. I don't make covenants with shady parties."

Netanyahu, via a video message, called for LGBT voters vote Likud, so that Amir Ohana, who is chairman of Likud's LGBT caucus and holds the number 32 slot on the party's ticket, would be elected.

The audience saved its warmest welcome for Meretz chairperson Zahava Gal-On. "We treat every person like a person, no more, no less," said Gal-On. It doesn't interest me who they do it with, or how they do it. It's not the business of the state."

Facing heckling from Yesh Atid supporter,the Meretz leader said that Lapid had sold their rights to Habayit Hayehudi's Naftali Bennett, and demanded that they promise not to sit in a right-wing government.

"Lapid talks about civil union," Gal-On said. "It's a legal fiction. It's a rotten compromise made between Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi. Lapid compromised on civil marriages for his brother Bennett."

Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On speaking at the event. (Moti Milrod)