An openly gay Israeli military officer has written a powerful Facebook post in which he says he feels abandoned by his country, after parliament failed to pass a host of LGBT rights laws.
Omer Nahmany, who is a 25-year-old Second Lieutenant in the artillery corps, was particularly disappointed that the Knessett failed to pass a bill which would have equated the rights of gay and straight military families.
Nahmany explains in the post – translated by GayBuzzer – that he has often been asked if it is a contradiction to be gay and a combat officer.
“My answer had always been – There is no contradiction,” he writes. “The beauty of the military is that we’re all equal. We wear the same uniform, we eat the same food, we’re in the battlefield together, during training and – if needed – during wartime.
“There are no divisions between a straight soldier and a gay soldier. My soldiers can count on me to never abandon them in the field, and I can count on them.”
He adds: “But this week – I was abandoned in the field. Not by my soldiers or by my commanding officers, but by the Israeli government. The same government that asks me to go to battle and maybe lose my life, had refused to pass a law that would equate the status of a gay bereaved family to that of a straight family.”
Effectively, if a gay soldier dies in battle, their partner and children would not be officially recognised as a bereaved family, with the benefits and rights that come with it.
The post comes after, a series of LGBT rights bills were uniformly rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government last week (February 24). They included recognition of civil unions and a ban on conversion therapy of minors.
“This situation, where the state of Israel asks me to risk my life in battle but refuses to take a political risk for me on the benches of Parliament is insufferable and contradicts every value I was thought during my military service,” he continues.
“I’m supposed to go into battle knowing that I’m a second class citizen, only because I’m gay. That I’m good enough to die for this country, but not good enough to be an equal-rights citizen.” Nahmany concludes, “Today I’m asking the country to fight for me, just as hard as I know I will fight for my country when I’m called.”