Far-right Knesset Member Avi Maoz, who is known for strident anti-LGBT views, said he will see to it that the Pride Parade in Jerusalem is abolished, calling the annual event “a promiscuous parade of abomination.”
In an interview for the weekend edition of the Olam Katan newspaper, Maoz further said he will stop what he termed the “radical, progressive brainwashing” of senior police and military officials by private organizations, and declared that removing the position of gender advisory officer from the IDF is vital for the country’s security.
“The Pride Parade in Jerusalem needs to be canceled first of all,” Maoz said. “I will make sure to cancel it. It is a disgrace. I am quite straightforward about this.”
Presumed incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Maoz’s remarks by saying the “Jerusalem Pride Parade will continue to march.”
Maoz, who has signed an agreement with Netanyahu to become a deputy minister in the emerging government, said the subject had not come up in coalition talks, “but I don’t hide that certainly I would want to cancel it.
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“Do you know how much those marches harm holy Jerusalem, its public space?” he said. “You want to demonstrate — demonstrate. But a parade of promiscuous abomination in public?”
He also claimed that the Mandel Leadership Institute has put together a list of 1,000 senior and mid-level officials in the Education Ministry to target with “radical, progressive brainwashing,” half of whom it has already “reached.”
He said senior officers in the army and police have been exposed to similar activities organized by the Wexner Foundation for leadership development and the Abraham Initiatives equal rights activism group.
“All that will stop, God willing,” he said.
File: Thousands take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, on June 2, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Asked for his view on security matters, Maoz repeated his past calls to abolish the role of gender adviser to the chief of staff, which promotes the role of women in the service, saying it “is the most important thing for Israel’s security, more than anything else.”
He further vowed “there will be no public transportation on Shabbat,” referring to the Sabbath when for a 25-hour period services are halted, though an increasing number of locations now offer some routes.
Maoz also said he will change laws that allow for public nudity for the sake of art, citing as an example the work in Israel of American photographer Spencer Tunick.
Maoz, who will also be given authority over outside programming in Israeli schools, said that if after 10 months or so in government he finds himself without real power to implement his ideas, he will leave the coalition.
“If I don’t have the tools to effect change, the prime minister will get a registration letter from me,” he said. “That won’t be pleasant for anyone. Believe me, they prefer to have me in the government and not in the Knesset [opposition].”
Maoz rejected any fear that Netanyahu would hamstring his efforts, saying, “I am not worried about Netanyahu, he will let me get to work.”
But Netanyahu responded to Hebrew media reports about Maoz’s remarks saying the “Jerusalem Pride Parade will continue to march.”
“The government under me will not harm the LGBT community and the rights of Israel’s citizens,” he tweeted. “We will provide a mutual guarantee for all citizens of Israel and work to improve al of our lives — this is our mission.”
MK Avi Maoz, left, and Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu after signing a coalition deal on November 27, 2022. (Courtesy, Likud)
Netanyahu inked an agreement with Maoz, the sole lawmaker in the fringe Noam party, earlier this week, making him deputy minister and head of a new “national Jewish identity” government agency within the Prime Minister’s Office.
Noam, which ran for the Knesset on a joint slate with the far-right Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties, campaigned on a platform of intolerance for gays and non-Orthodox streams of Judaism, with billboards describing homosexuality and Reform Judaism as abnormalities.
The party defiantly brushed off criticism of the coalition deal Wednesday.
“We remind those who may get confused: While the progressive agendas were inserted into the Education Ministry in darkness, without deliberation and certainly without legislation or elections, we repeatedly presented [our goal] of returning Jewish identity to the Education Ministry before the elections,” Noam said.
It said those who accuse it “of hatred and backwardness should learn how democracy works.”