The Ministry of Health, headed by ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, recently approved a 161,244-shekel agreement with the Israel AIDS Task Force to distribute free condoms in gay nightclubs, inter alia, though Litzman’s office made it clear that he was not involved.
The agreement was approved by the ministry’s tenders committee, which is headed by the director general, Moshe Bar Siman Tov.
The committee wrote in its decision that the initiative would distribute condoms in locations with a large presence of men who have sex with men (sometimes referred to as MSM), such as in nightclubs and various Pride events.
The condoms will be handed out by volunteers from the Israel AIDS Task Force who have undergone training to provide answers to questions posed to them by the public and make referrals to additional services offered to the community.
The initiative is to cost 332,188 shekels per annum, with the Health Ministry’s contribution being NIS 161,244, including VAT.
The health minister’s office commented, “The minister does not interfere in this matter.”
(Translated and edited by J. Herzog)