Knesset Member: Israeli Army Shouldn’t Draft Gays And Lesbians

Apparently wires are getting crossed in the Holy Land: Just days after a (possibly posed) picture surfaced showing two male Israeli soldiers holding hands, a member of the Israeli Knesset said the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) shouldn’t welcome gays and lesbians. Uri Ariel of the right-wing National Union party told a reporter, “If I had to choose I would not draft [gays]” because it “distracts” the army.

Israel has two-year mandatory military service for all able-bodied men and women.

Thankfully Ariel doesn’t appear to be in the majority: Israel has allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the armed forces since 1993, and discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned in the IDF.  One of the largest units in the Israeli army, Unit 8200, is  known for its large gay contingent.

Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich said Ariel’s comments were a “primitive and dangerous attack that comes in at a time when the Israeli public is finding enlightenment and tolerance, and is accepting the community as equals.” She added that conservative politicians make such spurious attacks to “earn political points.”

Dror Mizrahi, chairman of the Meretz Pride Forum, spoke out as well:

“Thankfully, Uri Ariel and his friends in the hallucinatory right do not decide the IDF’s draft policy. Many gays and lesbians join the IDF and have meaningful and proud service, and this will continue despite Ariel.”

Ariel’s comments also comes after another conservative member of the Knesset, Anastasia Michaeli of the Yisrael Beytenu party, claimed Israel’s Channel 10 was encouraging children to turn gay.

“Unfortunately, when I turn on Channel 10, I see so-called entertainment shows showing how nice it is to be gay,” she said. “We need to find out why Channel 10 has a right to broadcast this content that my children see, and hear that it’s fun and nice to put on make-up and dress up in skirts.”

Maybe, because it is fun and nice to put on make-up and dress in skirts?

Photos: IDF, Michael Feigin

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  • Well

    If I were Israeli and subject to the mandatory military service, I would welcome it if gays were excluded. Who wants to be drafted and waste years of his life in the military?

  • B

    Uri Ariel probably thinks the rifle in the picture is an erect part of the male anatomy and that scares him!

  • Ewan

    How lovely. Forced to kill people on behalf of the state. It’s what every wee gay boy and girl dreams of.

  • Cam


    Matt is a troll who posts anti Jewish and anti black comments even in articles that are not about either.

    It is exactly the strategy that NOM was writing about in the papers that were exposed. Their goal is to try to drive a wedge between gays and other groups, so they get onto these sites and post attacks like that.

    And Matt, nice try, but lets compare Israel that allows gays and lesbians to serve, and recognizes foreign gay marriages and adoptions to the countries around it like Palestine or Syria where being gay will get you arrested and killed.

  • Cam


    I find it interesting that you have posted multiple articles on here about a very small sect of Jews here in the states who don’t think gays should marry when the sects representing 90% of Jews in this country not only allow gays to marry but also ordain gay rabbis. Additionally, you will post an article about ONE member of the Israeli Congress making a comment about gays, but I don’t seem to see articles about the imprisonment or torture of gays in any of the countries surrounding Israel.

    Additionally, the Mormon church in America is still funding NOM’s budget, and the Catholic Church is still attacking gays from the Vatican yet I haven’t seen an Article on the Mormon church’s organized attack on gay rights in this country since Gay cities took over this site.

  • MikeNYC

    Queerty=Zionists, Islamophobes, Anti-Muslim, and Anti-Palestinian.

  • Joe

    Most Jews in Israel and in the United States are not for LGBT rights and are actually very homophobic when they think that nobody LGBT is around.

  • UsualPlayers

    While small in the U.S., its dishonest to pretend that Orthodox Judaism does not hold significant influence over policies in Israel.

    The Jewish community in the U.S. tends to be much more progressive and for gay rights. Just as the progressives in Israel tend to be for gay rights and indeed are progressive on economic and foreign policy issues. These are not the people who make up Likud and other conservative political forces in Israel.

    It would be like using the progressive wing of the Democratic Party or progressive versions of Christianity to say that conservatives in the U.S. and evangelical Christians do not hold significant power. Its fundamentally dishonest.

  • UsualPlayers

    By the way, if you read the progressive Jewish press, they say exactly what I am saying here. Of course, that press is attacked by the right wing in Israel and in the U.S. as being anti-Israel and hating Jews too because this is about more than being Jewish. Its about nationalistic politics and power just like it is in the U.S. when conservatives question anyone to the right of Romney as being anti-American in some way because they don’t agree on policies.

  • UsualPlayers

    An article by Jewish progressive lamenting the right ward lurch of Israel underscores the point:

    Meanwhile, the progressives are hated by the conservatives:

    There have been a lot of fights in the last year especially on the divide that having an ‘enemy” like Palestinians covers up. That;s why gays are being used as props. Its to prove to the progressives that the Israeli government is not completely hopeless. Many of the issues have very little to do with, as far as I understand, the Palestinian issues, and revolve around issues like housing and jobs for all:

    There was something like 150,000 protestors and there was other marches like this that I believe were bigger.

    The point is the comments above lack nuance. They are either dishonest or clearly biased against getting into the details of politics in Israel because of the international issues that gay rights are being used to cover up. I get the annoyance but it helps to be accurate.

  • Hyhybt

    “]Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich said Ariel’s comments were a “primitive and dangerous attack that comes in at a time when the Israeli public is finding enlightenment and tolerance, and is accepting the community as equals.””

    This, of course, no coincidence.

  • Timmeeeyyy!!!

    Wouldn’t you agree that the statement “Israel has allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the armed forces since 1993, and discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned in the IDF” says more about Israel’s attitude towards LGBT’s than the statement of one conservative politician?

    If only the USA has that kind of bigotry towards LGBT people….

  • Hyhybt

    One of the few constitutionally viable limits on free speech in the United States is the law that prohibits any conversation involving Israel from being rational.

  • Myles MacLean

    Tel-Aviv is called The Bubble with good reason.To exist as a gay person outside Tel-Aviv is extremely difficult,if not impossible.Who created this ghetto?
    Cam should be told about the Israeli government decision not to permit any type of marriage for gay people in Israel or the occupied territories.This wasn’t just one member but most of the Knesset.
    Don’t forget the official policy on gay refugees as well.None allowed,period!
    The Israeli government with the Israeli people behind them have a decidedly low opinion of anybody’s human rights,unless you happen to be of European descent.Ashkenazi preferably.
    Don’t forget the decisions in regard to black refugees from Africa either.
    Pink-washing and apartheid are the mainstay of Israel and their American backers.
    You should be proud of what you support,Cam.Shout out your support for this injustice.Maybe you will be able to convince yourself.

  • Hyhybt

    Is there, then, to be no difference between recognizing when someone/someplace has got something relatively right and supporting absolutely everything they’ve ever done?

  • UsualPlayers

    Israeli decision to “allow” gays to serve has more to do with necessity than an issue of gay rights. its a small country which must require everyone to serve in order to have enough people in the military. So, no, that’s a good benchmark only if someone is ignorant. Necessity does not equal tolerance.

  • Myles MacLean

    Beautiful!Well put!Thanks.

  • Cam

    @MikeNYC: said…

    “Queerty=Zionists, Islamophobes, Anti-Muslim, and Anti-Palestinian.”

    LOL!!!! Look at what an anti-gay bigot you are.

    Palestine has laws ON THE BOOKS enforcing a 10 year jail sentence for being gay. Gays are killed by family members who are not arrested for it. Gays are tortured in prison under govt. supervision. Why do Palestinians flee to Israel where they are granted asylum?

    So you are telling GAYS, that WE should support countries that would kill us. I’m curious…do you also tell blacks that they should be fighting to bring back slavery?

    You are an anti-gay bigot.

  • UsualPlayers

    Why does it mater what laws are on the books of Palestine if this is not pinkwashing?

    The problem here Cam is that you are nutjob.

  • UsualPlayers

    Myles you are getting a whole range of issues (outside of the typical israel v muslims) that folks like Cam absolutely do not want to discuss. The issues of racism against even black jews is not something we are suppose realize exists. Nor are the limits on gay rights issue, which again shows the influence of conservatives in Israeli politics supposed to be realized. No, we are supposed to look at the marketing ploy and ignore everything else. Note I admit the country is progressing slowly, but it is slow, but that’s not good enough for folks like Cam. No, israel is a utopia, and if we don’t agree we are anti-Jewish.

  • Hyhybt

    Where did anyone say Israel is a utopia? I’ve seen it said that they’re better, in certain respects, than other countries in the region, and that much is probably true: the whole region is awful. But that’s a far cry from claiming they’re perfect.

  • kieran

    You mean there are JEWISH homophobic assholes around just like there are Moslem, Protestant and Catholic homophobic assholes? Wow, what a shock.

  • UsualPlayers

    Most of the commens are along the lines of “Israel is better” rather than admitting that its got just as many problems as any other religious based country. In my view its an attempt to change the subject rather than admit its got a long way to go. If its not perfect, then treat it like you treat the US and expect more from it rather than going “its better” Its absurd argument from anyone serious about gay human rights. I don’t say the US is better than some other country on human rights because that doesn’t matter to me so long as its not full human rights, and I sure as hell don’t keep pointing out the least important aspect as significant. As I mentioned, they have gays in the military because of necessarity not because of enlightenment.

  • UsualPlayers

    Exactly regarding Jewish homophobes being like any other religion. That’s how it should be seen.

  • jay

    Gays everywhere have to fight for rights and Israel is no different. Compare Israel to its neighbors, though, and its tolerance of gay people in all walks of life is a marked contrast; in Israel you will not be killed for being gay. Is Israel perfect in this area? Of course not, but there is no where on earth without homophobia of some sort, the difference is only in the extremes. Even where I live,San Francisco, has its share of gay bashings. Israel is one place in a very bad neighborhood where I as a gay man would be tolerated, if not accepted. There is much progress to be made but Israel is further on this path than many countries and certainly its neighbors.

  • Cam

    @UsualPlayers: said…

    “Myles you are getting a whole range of issues (outside of the typical israel v muslims) that folks like Cam absolutely do not want to discuss.”

    No actually you are an anti-gay bigot and a liar. I discussed quite clearly the issue.

    He is trying to get gays to support countries where we are legally arrested and killed and is attacking a country that gives us rights.

    End of story. I have no concern at all about countries that could kill or jail me just for being who I am. And again, your changing and hiding of facts, and supporting those who would jail or kill us shows that you are an anti-gay bigot. That you actually hate gay people and are just trolling this site.


    HELP!! PLEASE Israeli, “HOMOS” brothers LOL don`t let the IDIOT, Mormon, Romny even get on a Air plain to come to Israel. He is a MOTHERFUCKER Christian!!!.

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