Israeli Gay Activist’s Political Dreams Suspended

There’s some gay drama over in Israel. What else is new, right? The fact that Mike Hamel (pictured), leader of gay rights group, Aguda, plans to enter the political fray – a plan that doesn’t sit well with the Tel Aviv’s deputy treasurer, Herzl Sayag.

Sayag recently suspended Tel Aviv’s funding for Aguda, thus curbing Hamel’s aspirations.

Fag rag Hazman Havarod notified readers that “a political list will be formed to compete in elections to local authorities and which will represent the proud community.” Sayag claims the group’s intentions violate its non-profit status: “According to regulations, a non-profit organization that applies for financial aid is barred from passing those funds on to a political party.” The group receives about 20% of its annual budget from the city. In order to receive their funding, Sayag says, Hamel will have to step down as Aguda’s leader, thus forfeiting any direct financial support.

Hamel, however, insists he’ll stay on as leader and run for the contentious political position:

I personally intend to form and lead a proud list that will compete in city council elections. A poll I conducted found a potential for three seats for a list like this. The clarifications are very simple: The association is not involved in any political activity and is not organizing for such activity. This was also made clear to [gay-friendly deputy mayor] Ms. Dayan, but unfortunately she is mixing her personal political motives into the issue of funding for the activity of associations, and apparently considers such a list threatening. This is pettiness on Dayan’s part.

Harsh words from Hamel, but Dayan definitely had some of her own:

On the municipal allocations committee we are scrupulous about not providing municipal support to any entity that might pass the municipal support on to some political track. If Hamel runs for office, he has to resign from the chairmanship of the Aguda. I have a life’s work to which the label ‘petty’ does not stick.

Them’s fighting words. And trust there’ll be a fight to the finish.