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Israeli mayors stand against anti-gay legislator on education

Mayors of liberal cities in Israel have joied the protest of outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid against anti-LGBTQ Knesset member Avi Maoz controlling the unit that decides on external education programs.

Israeli politicians, mayors and civil society groups are protesting the intention of Prime Minister-designated Benjamin Netanyahu to appoint far-right anti-LGBTQ Knesset member Avi Maoz to lead the unit responsible for external-curriculum classes. Many in Israel believe Maoz will block or cancel educational programs aimed at teaching liberal values, gender equality and tolerance towards minority groups. Earlier this week, Maoz said he will work to cancel the gay pride parade in Jerusalem.

As part of his coalition negotiations, Netanyahu agreed yesterday that Maoz, head of the small far-right party Noam, will serve as a deputy minister in the prime minister's office and receive responsibilities that currently belong to the education ministry. Maoz will control the unit that decides on external education programs, meaning the list of non-official bodies authorized to teach or lecture at schools. The agreement between the Likud and Noam parties stipulates that the unit will be transferred from the education ministry to the ministry of the prime minister. Maoz reportedly plans to use this position to strengthen what he calls "Jewish identity."

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