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Israeli-Arab society torn over LGBTQ legislation

The vote over a bill banning gay "conversion therapy" stirred a real conflict within Israeli-Arab politics and society.
Participants hold rainbow flags as they take part in Tel Aviv's annual Pride Parade amid the COVID-19 pandemic, on June 28, 2020. - Thousands took part in muted LGBT events across Israel today as the usually larger gatherings were cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions. In Tel Aviv, home to the Middle East's biggest annual Pride parade, revellers gathered at Rabin Square for a concert featuring local stars including transgender Eurovision winner Dana International. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JA

The attitude toward the LGBTQ community is one of the taboos of Israeli-Arab society. Thus, when it becomes public, storms erupt. This time, the storm threatens the unity of the Arab Joint List that includes four parties representing Arab society in Israel. The LGBTQ controversy is harsh, fundamental and ideological.

Traditional, conservative Arab society finds it difficult to tolerate those with different sexual orientations, which sometime is seen as "a stain" on the family, the clan or even the entire village. In August 2019, two brothers from the Arab village of Tamra tried to kill their 16-year-old brother who fled to an LGBTQ youth shelter in Tel Aviv. According to the indictment, after it was discovered that their brother was homosexual and was having an affair with a man, the brothers hit and stabbed him and threatened to kill him — all in the presence of the mother.

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