ISRAEL: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Refuses To Commit To LGBT Rights In First Meeting With Activists In 10 Years

The Times of Israel reports:

Leaders of Israel’s LGBT community blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday after the Likud leader told them during a meeting that coalition pressures prevented him from promising to promote equal rights.

In a rare meeting with activists at his residence in Jerusalem, the prime minister said opposition from religious and ultra-Orthodox parties blocked him from meeting their demands. It was the first time in 10 years that Netanyahu had met with LGBT activists.

Arutz Sheva reports:

“The prime minister refused to commit himself to promoting equality of rights as a condition for the establishment of the coalition and expressed concern about the opposition of the religious factions in any coalition that will be established. However, he declared that the education portfolio would remain in the hands of the Likud and not pass it on to the conservative parties,” the representatives said in a statement following the meeting.

The Jerusalem Post reports:

Labor’s gay members’ group said “Netanyahu embraces the darkest and most inciting factors in Israeli society with one hand and reaches out his other hand to the leaders of the gay community’s struggle. This meeting is political spin…and only a fig leaf by a man who voted against gay rights for 10 years. The community is sick of the Likud disrespecting its rights.”