A day after a stabbing attack at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade left six people wounded, an Israeli lawmaker from opposition party Zionist Union publicly disclosed his homosexuality in an op-ed about his sexual orientation, telling a local newspaper that he is part of Israel’s LGBT community.
In an op-ed published Friday morning, MK Itzik Shmuli wrote that “one cannot remain silent anymore, because when a knife is hanging above the neck of the entire LGBT community, my community, it won’t stop there. The time has come to battle the darkness,” he wrote in the daily Yedioth Aharonot.
“This despicable act that took place in the ‘city of God’ targeted us al. It targeted our right to be different, to make our own choices and to accept those different from us and include them (within society),” MK Shmuli wrote.
“In the name of what god did the despicable criminal attack the crowd at the parade? In the name of what religion did he pull out a knife and began to stab and stab again?” he asked rhetorically. “We can no longer stay quiet, because this silence fuels the hatred that undermines the promise of equal rights. We were silent. No more,” he wrote.
Shmuli was head of the National Union of Israeli Students and a leader of Israel’s social justice protests, before being elected to the Knesset in 2013. Shumli’s decision not to come out publically after being elected inspired criticism with some from Israel’s LGBT community.
In an article published online last year, Gal Ohovski, a prominent cultural personality and gay advocate, called on Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog to ‘out’ an unnamed MK from the party or fire him for concealing his sexual identity. The call angered many, who said Shumli should have the right not to publicize his sexual identity.