Moved to action by the horrific attack at Jerusalem Gay Pride yesterday, MK Itzik Shmuli of the Zionist Union Party told the world that he’s gay today, in a column for the daily Hebrew language publication Yedioth Ahronoth.
Yesterday, Yishai Schlissel, an “ultra-Orthodox” Jew, stabbed six people at Jerusalem Gay Pride, three weeks after being released from prison for committing a similar crime at the same parade in 2005. Two of his victims remain in very serious condition.
According to Times of Israel, the lawmaker writes, “We cannot be silent any longer. The knife is raised on my community.”
It’s the first time he’s ever publicly addressed his sexuality. He balked last December when LGBT activist Gay Uchovsky, writing for the Mako news website, insisted that Zionist leader Isaac Herzog wrestle with the “elephant in the room” and fire the “closeted MK.”
“Bougie, if you view yourself as the next prime minister of Israel,” he wrote, “you must also deal with the elephant, and suggest one of the following two options: Leave the closet, or leave the Knesset. Want to stay in the closet? No problem, stay at home. Want to be a Knesset member? Then there is no closet.”
At the time, member of Knesset Micky Rosenthal decried Uchovsky’s column, and called it vulgar.
“I think he really exaggerated,” he said at the time. “Most of his claims, in my eyes, are unfounded.”
But now, Shmuli has set the record straight once and for all. “It is no longer possible to remain silent,” he writes. “This is the time to fight the great darkness. This terrible criminal act — that once again happened in ‘the city of God’ — is an attack on all of us. It attacks the right of all of us to be different, make our choices, accept differences and include the other.”