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Israel has the openly gayest parliament in its history

© Belga

Six openly gay MPs are sitting in the Israeli parliament, a record for a country considered one of the pioneers of LGBT rights.

Following the country’s adoption last week of the so-called “Norwegian” law, allowing ministers to leave their seats to another party member, new members entered the Israeli parliament, bringing the number of openly gay parliamentarians to six, or 5% of the assembly which has 120 deputies.

“I think it puts Israel in fourth place after the UK (8.1%), Liechtenstein (8%) and the Scottish Parliament (7.7%),” Andrew Reynolds told AFP. Professor of political science at the University of North Carolina, in the United States, who studies the political representation of LGBT people in the world.

Israel already recognizes gay marriages performed abroad and allows same-sex couples as well as single women and men to use surrogacy.

“There have been very positive developments in recent decades,” said Or Keshet, who campaigns for recognition of LGBT rights within Aguda, the largest Israeli LGBT organization.

“It is very encouraging that there are six deputies from the (gay) community who are not all from the same political party,” said Or Keshet, who campaigns for recognition of LGBT rights in the country, saying it sets example for young people. “But there is still a long way to go (…) and we expect all elected officials to represent us and advance equality of rights,” she continues.

In June 2019, the Israeli left party Meretz elected Nitzan Horowitz, the first openly gay figure to head a national political organization in Israel. Today he sits in opposition.

“We would like to see lesbian and trans women also in parliament. This is already the case in the United States,” said Keshet. Women are, he says, generally underrepresented in political spheres in Israel.

The Brussels Times