Abutbul Reaches an Agreement with LGBT Leaders

Author: Yanir Dekel
Published: November 15, 2013

In a meeting between the Aguda, Israel’s National LGBT Task Force, and the Mayor of Beit Shemesh, Moshe Abutbul, the Mayor explained that his words on Channel 10 News were not aimed at the LGBT community . Among the agreements that were reached:  a focused seminar for welfare and education departments employees, in order to gather more knowledge of the community.

mosheAt the meeting that was held on Wednesday night between the Aguda and Mayor Abutbul, the sides sorted everything out between them and agreements were reached, including the beginning of LGBT programs by the organizations in the city, in order to provide support services for LGBT people and reduce the ignorance that exists on the subject. According to the Mayor, he was unfamiliar with the term used in the TV interview ( “gays ” ) and did not connect the word with the LGBT community .

“The mistake in my words came from a lack of familiarity with the subject and the English term that was used by the reporter,”  said the Mayor.  “Of course I had no intention to speak badly of any segment of the population, and I intend, as I have so far, to be a mayor for all residents and to promote mutual respect and tolerance. After this incident and the meeting with representatives of the LGBT community, I was educated to understand that in order to prevent similar incidents in the future, it is important that professionals in the  city recognize the LGBT community and understand its needs . This is the reason why I acted in order to achieve these agreements.”

Among the agreements reached with  City Hall: scheduling a special seminar for employees of welfare and education departments  that will be organized by Hoshen (The Education Center of the LGBT community in Israel ), in addition to a panel of community organizations and city employees in order to familiarize them with  all of the services Hoshen provides. It was also agreed that the municipality will allocate a budget for a social worker to act on behalf of the association to assist and support resident LGBT people in the city.”

“We are pleased that the Mayor clarified his words and intentions and appreciate the step of the Beit Shemesh municipality, that from now will also address the needs of LGBT people in the city,” said chairman of the Aguda  Shai Deutsch. ” You can certainly say that with the bad came good and we hope other authorities will also meet the needs of the LGBT community in their cities .”