Likud's First Openly Gay Lawmaker to Be Sworn in Following Silvan Shalom's Resignation

In light of Shalom's resignation from Knesset amid allegations of sexual assault, Amir Ohana, the head of the Likud's LGBT caucus, will take his place.

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Amir Ohana at a Likud rally following the announcement of the election results, March 17, 2015.
Amir Ohana at a Likud rally following the announcement of the election results, March 17, 2015.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

Attorney Amir Ohana, head of the Likud's LGBT caucus, will take the place in Knesset of Silvan Shalom, who stepped down from public office on Sunday evening following allegations of sexual assault. Ohana will be the first openly gay individual to serve in the Knesset by the right-wing party. 

Previously, Israel has had three openly gay individuals serve - Uzi Even and Nitzan Horowitz of Meretz and Itzik Shmuli of Zionist Union.

Ohana, 39, hails from Rishon Letzion, and is a criminal lawyer and a former Shin Bet official. He and his partner Alon Hadad have a son and a daughter together, born through a surrogate in the U.S.

Ohana was elected to represent the Tel Aviv District for Likud and was placed at the 32nd spot on the party list. Since the election, he frequently participated in Likud meetings in the Knesset. Ohana is close with cabinet minister Miri Regev, former MK Moshe Feiglin and to the Haredi lawmakers in the Likud.

"The gay community needs to grow up," he told Haaretz in an interview last year. "I am against the method of berating, invectives and boycotts every time someone disagrees with the agenda," he said criticizing the LGBT community.   

According to Ohana, while few people in the Likud "turned their nose" when the gay caucus in the party was established, it was met with "poisonous attacks" by some in the LGBT community, "mostly leftists." "It annoyed them that their hegemony was broken," he told Haaretz. However, he also acknowledged the role of leftist lawmakers Shulamit Aloni and Yael Dayan in the fight for LGBT rights. 

After the stabbing at the gay pride parade in Jerusalem this summer, Ohana attacked the gay community leaders for not letting Habayit Hayehudi's Naftali Bennett and Yinon Magal speak at the memorial rally, and accused the left of appropriating the fight for LGBT rights. "How is it that 'Pride in Likud' has become the focus of your sharpened arrows," he asked on his Facebook page at the time.  "Is it because you prefer the right to be full of racist, sexist, homophobes because it makes it easier for you to be on the 'good' side?"

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