GET TO KNOW THE LGBTQ CANDIDATES
Last April, a record 5 openly-gay members of parliament were elected to Israel’s Knesset: Amir Ohana (Likud), Itzik Shmuli (Labor), and Eitan Ginzburg, Idan Roll and Yorai Lahav Hertzanu (all from the Blue and White party). We were proud to invite MK Ginzburg to New York in June to march with A Wider Bridge in World Pride, and introduced the new lawmaker to LGBTQ elected officials in New York City. This year Israel also saw its first openly-gay cabinet member appointed, when Prime Minister Netanyahu named Amir Ohana the Justice Minister. Heading into these upcoming elections, Nitzan Horowitz (Democratic Union) became the first openly-gay person to head an Israeli political party.
Position on list: 32
Last year, Eitan Ginzburg made history by being Israel’s first openly gay mayor, serving the city of Ra’anana. After losing a reelection bid, he was tapped to join the new Blue and White Party.
“If I can change the vision of one LGBT boy or one LGBT girl so that they feel good about themselves and see that there are no limits to their personal development, despite their sexual orientation, I will feel that I have done a lot.” – Eitan Ginzburg
Position on list: 34
Idan Roll was the head of Yesh Atid’s LGBTQ branch. He’s well-known as a former model, activist, and the partner of celebrity Israeli pop singer, Harel Skaat.
“We all have the right to live in an egalitarian and liberal society. The right to choose how to live our lives. But in order to achieve a better future we need to wake up politically.” – Idan Roll
Yorai Lahav Hertzano
Position on list: 35
Yorai Lahav-Herzano served as Chair of the Young Yesh Atid party and is a blogger for The Times of Israel.
“I’m going to act to erase inequality! In legislation: guarantees the right to recognition of couples and the right to parenthood, as well as budgets, with an emphasis on youth and veteran populations.” – Yorai Lahav Hertzano
Position on list: 1
Nitzan Horowitz is the first openly gay man to lead a political party in Israel. He previously was the chief U.S. correspondent and commentator for the Israeli News Company, known as Channel 2 News. Before rejoining television, he served two full terms in the Knesset on the Meretz list.
“We will fight for our freedom to live a free life and have equal rights in this country.” – Nitzan Horowitz
Position on list: 8
Formerly the Executive Director for the non-profit activist organization Peace Now, Avi Buskila stepped down from this position to run with the Meretz party. As a Mizrachi Moroccan from Israel’s periphery, he is outspoken about diversifying Israel’s political landscape.
“Most people in the center support the community, but to be gay, lesbian or transgender in the periphery [of Israel] is difficult. These are the places where our political parties should be more significant.” – Avi Buskila
Position on list: 14
Anat Nir is an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ and women’s communities. She was a former board member of the Aguda and is a queer cultural events organizer in Tel Aviv for major events like the Lethal Lesbian Film Festival.
“Meretz has been the leading party of human rights and LGBT rights in Israel and the ally of the LGBTQ community when it was still not such a mainstream idea to promote gay rights. I am running to be the first woman out of the closet in the Knesset.” – Anat Nir
Position on list: 3
Currently a member of the Knesset, Itzik Shmuli publicly came out as gay in 2015 in solidarity with the LGBTQ community after the horrific stabbings at Jerusalem’s LGBTQ Pride Parade.
“I want to be a father and I can not be a father. To do this, I have to go to a foreign country overseas, pay $140,000 and to hope it’s all be ok. We are good enough to serve the country in the army, but not to be parents. It is a discriminatory and painful situation.” – Itzik Shmuli
Carmen Elmakiyes Amos
Position on list: 10
Carmen Elmakiyes Amos is a social activist and a filmmaker. She is a founder of the “Not Nice” social movement, of the Tor Hazahav Mizrahi political movement. In April 2019, she ran in the national elections for the Knesset as a candidate for the Gesher party, led by Orly Levy-Abekasis.
“I will not be a Knesset member who disappears from the issues that I’ve always been fighting for.” – Carmen Elmakiyes Amos
Position on list: 21
Amir Ohana is the first openly gay right-wing member of the Knesset, first openly gay man from Likud to serve in the Knesset, and the first openly gay Cabinet member.
“Surrogacy, civil marriage, adoption – the answer to all of these is only one. Yes!” – Amir Ohana