Likud MK Amir Ohana was appointed Justice Minister Wednesday evening by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, becoming the first member of the LGBT community to serve as a minister in the Israeli government.
Ohana holds a law degree and completed his residency in the State Prosecutor’s Office in the central district; he later practiced law for a decade before turning to politics.
Former justice minister Ayelet Shaked was fired from the position earlier this week, and despite vocal demands made by MK Bezalel Smotrich from the Union of Right-Wing Parties, Netanyahu appointed fellow Likud member Ohana.
Announcing the appointment Wednesday, Netanyahu called Ohana “a lawyer who knows the judicial system well.” He added that the new minister was one of the proposers of the controversial Nation-State Law, which defines Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
The prime minister then tweeted a picture of himself and Ohana and wished the new minister good fortune in his new position.
Smotrich, who was publicly rebuked by Netanyahu this week for calling for Israel to operate its judicial system based on biblical law, said in response to the appointment that "Amir Ohana is a friend and worthy man for the role and I wish him the best of luck, be that's not the story here."
He added: "Netanyahu only behaves this way to the religious Zionist public and would never have treated his other coalition partners this way."
Smotrich, who was clear in his intent to become justice minister, is thought by Likud officials to become the next transportation minister. He will replace Yisrael Katz, whose appointment as foreign minister ends Netanyahu’s own tenure in the role.
Ohana lives in Tel Aviv with his partner Alon Hadad, and their four-year-old twins who were born in the U.S. to a surrogate mother.