Israel set to have record number of openly gay MPs

Israeli parliament (17/05/20) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The MPs who are gay represent five political parties

Israel is set to have a record number of openly gay MPs after new rules allowing cabinet members to give up their seats came into effect.

Six MPs from five parties across the political spectrum will serve in the 120-seat Knesset as a result.

Last year, Israel appointed its first openly gay minister.

The country has the most progressive attitude towards LGBTQ people in the Middle East, despite opposition from some conservative sections of society.

They are protected by anti-discrimination laws, have adoption and same-sex inheritance rights, and have been allowed to serve in the military since 1993.

A member of Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party – Yorai Lahav-Hertzano – will become the sixth openly gay MP when he is sworn in next week.

Image copyright Knesset
Image caption Yorai Lahav-Hertzano belongs to the centrist Blue and White party

He replaces one of the five Blue and White MPs who submitted their resignations on Wednesday under a new law which allows MPs who are also ministers to give up their seats but stay in government.

Last year, Amir Ohana, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, became Israel’s first openly gay member of cabinet when he was appointed acting justice minister. He is currently minister of public security.