The Likud’s signing of a coalition agreement with the one-member Noam party on Sunday evening triggered a storm of outraged reactions and false and hypocritical accusations from left-wing politicians and reporters.
According to the agreement, Noam MK Avi Maoz will serve as a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and will head the “National-Jewish Identity Authority” – a new authority that will be established within the Prime Minister’s Office in the next government.
Maoz will also head Nativ, an already existing bureau within the Prime Minister’s Office that liaises with Jewish communities in Eastern Europe, mainly in countries of the former Soviet Union. Nativ plays a role in determining whether Jews are eligible to make aliyah under the Law of Return, among other things.
Left-wing politicians and journalists immediately responded to the report by spreading false accusations against Maoz, accusing him of being anti-LGBTQ people, anti-women, a racist, and according to outoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid, a “dark nationalist.” Although the agenda of the Noam party is to battle against the hijacking of the public agenda and children’s education by progressive organizations such as LGBTQ groups and the Reform movement, the party focuses on the preservation of Jewish identity and values and education rather than opposition to LGBTQ people or women.
Former Haaretz journalist Barak Ravid, who now regularly incites against Israeli right-wing politicians in his English-language Axios articles, did it again by tweeting a photo of Netanyahu and Moaz, accompanied by a caption (in English) calling Noam a “radical religious party that focuses on opposing LBGTQ and women’s rights.”
The person Netanyahu is shaking hands with is Avi Maoz, the leader of Noam, a radical religious party that focuses on opposing LGBTQ & women's rights. They signed a coalition deal today. Maoz will be a deputy minister at the PM office in charge of a new Jewish identity department pic.twitter.com/xEb5cNW2hY
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) November 27, 2022
He was widely slammed by right-wing politicians and journalists for his post. Chareidi journalist Aryeh Erlich responded by stating: “The idea of slandering Israel in a foreign language is despicable in my eyes. Avi Maoz’s positions on the LGBTQ sector are no different than Mansour Abbas and the Ra’am party who were senior partners in the departing government. One could disagree with those positions but they are legitimate in the political sphere of the State of Israel.”
Yisrael Hayom reporter Ariel Kahana focused on another angle of Ravid’s comments, that of characterizing Maoz as a “religious radical” who does nothing but oppose left-wing groups. “The person Netanyahu is shaking hands with is Avi Maoz, a leader of the ‘Let My People Go’ who worked tirelessly to let Jews in USSR, including Nathan Sharansky, go free to Israel,” he tweeted. “Maoz, who supports conservative families, was also a senior official in Israeli governments.”
Others honed in on the hypocrisy of left-wing politicians, who rail against Maoz while completely ignoring the anti-LGBTQ stances of its own government partners, such as Ra’am MK Walid Taha, who slammed the LGBTQ sector in an interview with Kan News during the reign of Bennett-Lapid. Kikar H’Shabbat reporter Yishay Cohen tweeted a screenshot of an article about the Taha interview, writing: “Oiy, the hypocrisy. What’s permissible for the left is off-bounds for the right?”
אוי הצביעות אוי
מה שמותר לשמאל, אסור לימין? pic.twitter.com/0YVsQs3bey
— ישי כהן (@ishaycoen) November 28, 2022
Media adviser Avraham Grintzeig commented: “Every time you see a media text about Avi Maoz, close your eyes and imagine the name Walid Taha in its place. If you don’t remember a similar text – you can ignore it.”
Lapid responded by stating: “With every passing day, it seems that instead of a full right-wing government, a completely mad government is being formed here. The fact that Netanyahu will appoint Avi Maoz as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office is nothing short of insane.”
“This is the man who opposes women’s service in the IDF, opposes women in senior positions, supports conversion therapy for LGBTQ people and every other dark position you can think of. Likud voters, is this what you wanted? That this dark nationalist will dictate your life?”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated: “This is not Jewish identity – it is racist identity. We will battle Netanyahu’s racist government with all available means.”
The Reform Movement stated: “We would like to remind the incoming new department head that there is more than one way to be Jewish. And Avi Maoz, who received a job laden with funds from the prime minister-elect, will not decide for millions of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora what those ways are.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)