Religious Zionist party MK Orit Strock stirred uproar on Sunday after suggesting doctors should be allowed to refuse to provide certain treatments that go against their beliefs.
The far-right lawmaker and prospective minister in the incoming government made the remarks during an interview with public broadcaster Kan Radio when asked about one of the controversial clauses that have been revealed in recent days from the coalition agreements.
According to the clause, the government will amend the Prohibition of Discrimination in Products, Services, and Entry into Places of Entertainment and Public Places Law that would allow any private business to refuse to provide a service or product due to religious belief given a similar alternative is available in geographical proximity at a similar price.
This raises concerns over the introduction of gender segregation in businesses or refusal to provide services to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“As long as there are enough other doctors who can provide a service, it is forbidden to force a physician to give treatment that goes against their religious beliefs," she said.
“I have friends who are LGBT. I don't wish to alienate them and I don't hate them. We talk about specific actions that are forbidden according to Jewish law. Not only will I sell to them at the grocery store, but I will also host them in my home and serve them my own cooking.
There is no alienation here. But there are certain actions that, in my opinion, are forbidden, and not necessarily regarding the LGBT community, but also regarding the Yuletide tree, Christmas, and the like."
In response to a Ynet request for comment, the Religious Zionist party clarified that the amendment to the law will not apply to doctors but only to professionals who do not provide services for religious reasons, "such as a hairdresser who does not want to serve women".
Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Strock’s comments and maintained the LGBTQ+ rights will not be abridged by his government.
“[Strock’s comments] are not acceptable to me and my friends in Likud. The coalition agreements do not allow LGBT people to be discriminated against or to harm their rights to receive services as any citizen in Israel,” Netanyahu said.
“Likud will ensure that there will be no harm done to LGBT people or the rights of any Israeli citizen."
First published: 14:41, 12.25.22