Yesh Atid Minister Derails Labor Bill Against Transgender Discrimination

Labor Party: Rejection of bill harms LGBT community, health minister betrays public for credit.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Health Minister Yael German this week derailed a bill to prevent discrimination against transgender people applying for jobs, only to promote a similar bill sponsored by her own party, Yesh Atid.

At Sunday's meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, German voted against a bill sponsored by MK Merav Michaeli (Labor), causing it to be rejected. Ironically, the bill was signed by seven Yesh Atid MKs, including Ofer Shelah, who formulated Yesh Atid's similar bill.

German's office said in response that "Shelah was working on a more comprehensive bill dealing with the issue, a bill that would add to the definition of 'sexual identity and gender identity' in the [existing] ban on the gender discrimination. The minister will obviously support Shelah's bill."

On Tuesday, Shelah submitted his bill, which broadens the ban on discrimination based on sexual and gender identity. In his explanation of the bill, Shelah wrote, "This bill proposes that in every law or directive relating to banning discrimination, a ban on discrimination due to sexual preferences and/or gender identity be added. Furthermore, this bill will be used by all courts dealing with discrimination, and will be an educational declaration as to equal rights in Israeli society."

The fact that Yesh Atid is planning its own bill did little to pacify Labor Party members. Labor's gay organization was quick to criticize German, writing on its Facebook page: "The person who gave a proud, brave speech from the podium of the gay [pride] parades fought today against the community and against Israeli society. And for what? For Yesh Atid. For the credit. This is tiny, shameful politics, betraying your public for credit."

Michaeli also reacted angrily, saying, "It's regrettable that Yesh Atid is promoting an important bill at the expense of other important initiatives in support of the gay community. I welcome Shelah's bill, but it doesn't replace my bill, and therefore its rejection harms the community."

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