LGBTQ activists in Israel are angry after meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his residence Sunday where he reportedly told them he could not promise to promote LGBTQ equality after the upcoming elections on Tuesday.
It was Netanyahu’s first meeting with LGBTQ leaders in ten years.
According to The Times of Israel, Netanyahu said “opposition from religious and ultra-Orthodox parties blocked him from meeting their demands.”
In a statement from the group following the meeting, the representatives said, “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.”
With the final polls showing Netanyahu’s Likud party neck and neck with his opponent’s Blue and White Party, some political pundits say the Prime Minister took the meeting for the photo op and to appear as if he might act on behalf of Israel’s LGBTQ community.
Netanyahu meets with LGBT leaders for first time in 10 years https://t.co/DHJtkkD4Mp
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) April 7, 2019
With that in mind, it’s no wonder the estimated 500,000 LGBTQ voters in Israel aren’t leaning in Netanyahu’s direction.
A recent poll showed only 6% of LGBTQ voters in Israel plan to cast their ballot for Likud, in the upcoming election on April 9, while 31% say they favor the Blue and White party.
LGBTQ leaders in Israel are concerned as anti-gay rhetoric has grown more intense in recent years.
In February, the Association for LGBTQ Equality sent a report to Israel’s President Rivlin which documented a 54% jump from 2017 to 2018 in homophobic incidents.