Coming Out of the Jewish Closet

Right-wing orthodox journalist Emily Amrousi who is known for her homophobic comments on national TV, was invited by religious-gay organizations for an introduction and discussion and walked out having positive thoughts towards the gay community. “My first question to them was, ‘What can I do to prevent my sons from becoming homosexual?’ Two hours into our meeting, I was asking, ‘If my son is homosexual, what can I do to support him and make his life easier?’,” she writes.

I have known and loved the newest member of the Knesset, Amir Ohana (who will be replacing Likud MK Silvan Shalom who resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations), for years. This refreshing MK characterizes the new Israel — the Israel that refuses to fall under labels. He is an intellectual, a Tel Avivian, a homosexual, and a member of the right-wing Likud party. You’d expect that he would be objectionable to the rightist factions and the religious settlers, but you’d be wrong. He is cherished by many for his convictions, neither despite his homosexuality nor because of it.

Those who can’t stand to see him where he is are not religious bearded conservatives, but rather the gay community.

“Amir Ohana is like the Jews who collaborated with Nazis during World War II,” some say. “A fig leaf,” they charge. The liberal church with the multi-colored flag prefers the Right to be racist, homophobic and illiterate. It helps them feel good about themselves. It clears the system of any complexity and divides the world clearly into two camps — good and evil.

After right-wing activist Yehuda Glick was shot at point-blank range on the Temple Mount, when there was a decent chance that terrorists would return to finish what they started when he survived the shooting, Glick was released from the hospital without any police protection. Ohana was the one who personally guarded him, on a volunteer basis, for a long time. He took Glick to his treatments, to physical therapy, armed with a gun and a love of humanity. His addition to the Knesset will do a lot of good for everyone.

Just as they announced on the radio that Ohana was expected to enter the Knesset, I was parking my car in the quiet Jerusalem neighborhood where I had been invited to a meeting. In a ground-floor apartment, 10 religious homosexuals were waiting for me, sitting in a circle. I told them that I was approaching the assignment less as a journalist and more as a mother coming to listen to their plight. My first question to them was, “What can I do to prevent my sons from becoming homosexual?” Two hours into our meeting, I was asking, “If my son is homosexual, what can I do to support him and make his life easier?” That, in a nutshell, reflects the change that religious Zionism has undergone in the last decade.

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