The Israel Defense Forces should not recruit individuals who are outwardly open about their homosexuality, Knesset State Control Committee Chairman Uri Ariel (National Union) said on Monday.
In an interview on the Knesset channel, Ariel said, "My opinion is that those who openly and actively declare their homosexuality should not be recruited into the army, but those who come as private individuals will be enlisted."
"The phenomenon of homosexuality, when displayed openly, is contrary to the spirit of Judaism," Ariel, who is religiously observant, added.
The MK's comments come only days after another MK, Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beytenu), infuriated many by saying, "I really think that most homosexuals are people who are going through a very difficult time because they were sexually harassed from a very young age."
Speaking before the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, Michaeli accused Channel 10 of broadcasting content unsuitable for children and encouraging them to become homosexuals.
"To my regret, when I turn on Channel 10, I see so-called entertainment shows about how nice it is to be homosexual," Michaeli said. "They are miserable, these homosexuals ... eventually they commit suicide at the age of 40."
Like Michaeli, Ariel's comments on Monday outraged the homosexual community and politicians from across the political spectrum.
The Israeli National LGBT Task Force responded to Ariel's comments, saying, "Recently it has become a routine for eccentric MKs to use the gay community as a punching bag as a way to get spicy headlines in the media. We regret the ignorance of certain Knesset members."
Opposition leader MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) said, "The latest attack against the gay community is primitive and dangerous. MKs attacking the community might gain political points in the short run among a limited audience, but their incitement endangers members of the gay community. "
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar (Likud) also blasted the recent anti-gay comments, saying, "The statements by MKs in recent days against gays and lesbians are troublesome, unacceptable and reprehensible. Public officials should go against such statements in a clear and sharp manner by saying, ‘Enough is enough,’ in order to preserve Israel as a tolerant and progressive country."