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    Bezalel Smotrich, a parliamentary candidate from a religious Orthodox party in Israel, The Jewish Home, referred to himself as a proud homophobe

    Israeli Politician's Coming Out as 'Proud Homophobe' Provokes Heated Debate

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    A young Israeli politician, Bezalel Smotrich, has called himself a "proud homophobe," adding fuel to the fire sparked by his party's anti-gay stance.

    Bezalel Smotrich, a parliamentary candidate from a religious Orthodox party in Israel, The Jewish Home, referred to himself as a "proud homophobe," slamming gays for their attempt to "redefine" social norms.

    According to a record obtained by Israeli media sources, Smotrich criticized gay rights campaigners during a Sunday discussion panel at a Ramat Gan high school. While admitting that every person has the right to be abnormal in his own home, the Jewish Home hopeful stressed that at the same time, homosexuals have no right to demand that all people "throw out the concept of normativity," and deny the fact that there is such a thing as "being normal."

    Gays feel uncomfortable about being different and when they come out of the closet, they boast about it, the politician said. When one of the students called his statements "homophobic," Bezalel Smotrich hailed the remark, characterizing himself as a "proud homophobe."  Experts note that Smotrich, number eight in the party's list, is the most likely to enter the Knesset after the March 17 elections.

    Israeli media outlets reveal that Smotrich took part in a so-called "Beast Parade" in 2006, which was organized as an anti-gay march in Jerusalem. The parade organizers blasted what they called same-sex "deviant acts."

    Bezalel Smotrich's remarks have added fuel to the fire sparked by the Jewish Home party's anti-gay stance. It is worth mentioning that the  party, which purports to represent Modern Orthodox Jews, has long been criticized for opposing same-sex marriage legalization. In its turn, the Jewish Home has repeatedly failed to recognize gay-marriage, claiming that it contradicts Jewish values and the core principles of the state.

    After Smotrich came under fire for his statements, the Jewish Home pointed out that other parties in the Knesset shared his stance. Instead of slamming the Jewish Home, the party's member said, journalists should examine views expressed by such prominent parliament leaders as Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni regarding the issue. 

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    Tags:
    anti-gay march, homophobia, gay rights, The Jewish Home party, Bezalel Smotrich, Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid, Israel
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