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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Israeli doctors turn on Netanyahu allies

The incoming PM’s coalition partners want to allow religious hospitals to refuse gay patients

Israeli doctors and hospital staff posted defiant messages after the hardline Zionist coalition partners of incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they want to allow religious healthcare providers to turn away LGBT patients.

Israel’s parliament will vote in Nethanyahu’s new government on Thursday, after the former PM formed an alliance with the ultra-orthodox Jewish Power and Religious Zionism parties, as well as several smaller conservative factions, to secure himself a sixth term in office.

However, Netanyahu’s new bedfellows are already causing controversy for the returning leader. Religious Zionism MP Orit Struck declared last week that Israel’s laws should express “its moral code,” and that doctors should have the right not to serve people from the LGBT community, provided another doctor was on hand to treat them.


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Both the Religious Zionism and United Torah Judaism parties have insisted that their coalition agreements with Netanyahu’s Likud party include a clause allowing private business owners to turn away customers based on religious beliefs – as in the high-profile case of Christian baker Jack Phillips in the US. 

Netanyahu rebuked his more right-wing allies on Sunday, and has repeatedly stressed that his government will not allow discrimination against LGBT people. “In the country that I will lead, there will be no situation where a person, whether he is LGBT, Arab or ultra-Orthodox or any other person, will enter a hotel and not receive service, enter a doctor and not receive service,” he said in a video statement.

However, the controversy has not died down. The Sheba Medical Center released a video on Instagram on Monday, featuring health care workers from around the country saying “we treat everyone.” Similar statements were made by doctors and staff at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, the Associated Press reported. 


Aside from the LGBT furore, United Torah Judaism have also reportedly demanded that gender-segregated public events be allowed, while calling on the government to review the Law of Return: a policy permitting any Jew – plus their children and grandchildren – to immigrate to Israel. 

Should Netanyahu refuse, his allies could threaten to drop their support for legislation that would dismiss corruption charges against the incoming PM.

December 28, 2022 at 04:44AM


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