Israeli LGBTQ Leader Chen Arieli Runs For Public Office

LGBTQ community leader Chen Arieli joined Tel Aviv mayoral candidate Asaf Zamir as his number three, several days after Zippi Brand Frank, a member of the city council’s Simu Lev Horim faction, announced that she had withdrawn herself as a mayoral candidate and merged with Zamir, running as his number two.

Chen Arieli  (Photo: Guy Cohen)

“I joined Asaf Zamir because I believe that the time has come to understand that there needs to be change,” Arieli wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.

Arieli has served as the chair of the Aguda Israel’s LGBTQ Task Force since 2015 and led a large-scale strike and demonstrations across the country over the summer against discriminatory surrogacy legislation.                   

Chen Arieli at the LGBTQ Equality Rally in Tel Aviv, July 22, 2018

“Those who know me know that I follow my heart, and my heart loves Asaf. And my heart believes him and in his desire to make the world better,” she continued.

She lauded Zamir for placing two women with clear agendas after him on his Rov Ha’ir Party list. 

  Chen Arieli at 2018 Tel Aviv Pride with John Becker (center) and AWB Executive Director Tyler Gregory

“We will uphold our opinions and we will bring the social and feminist spirit… with pride and joy we discovered… a real partner who knows how to be attentive also to criticism and to implement it, which is most important when revolutionizing. And that’s what we’re going to do – because the time has come.”             

She also expressed pride in Yaniv Waizman, Tel Aviv council member, and founder and chairman of IGY (Israel Gay Youth), who gave up his spot for Arieli, taking the fourth slot on the list instead.

“If there is anyone worth vacating the third slot for, it’s Chen,” said Waizman. “Chen is not just a partner in the journey, campaigns, demonstrations and revolutions that have been done in recent years for the advancement of the LGBTQ community in Israel, but she is also a close friend with an exceptional personality. The LGBTQ community and the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa made a huge win today.”

Zamir welcomed Arieli to the party on Sunday, saying: “We are on the road to a real revolution… after we announced last week that Tzipi Brand, Shelly Dvir and the Simu Lev Horim Movement [had] joined Rov Ha’ir, I am proud to announce today the new member of our list in the elections – Chen Arieli, chairman of the Agudat Israel’s LGBT Task Force, a social activist and an inspiring person in general.

“Chen’s past year was a year of dramatic action, with the leadership of the protest against discrimination, one of the biggest I remember here,” Zamir said.

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