Amir Ohana

Amir Ohana (Hebrew: אָמִיר אוֹחָנָה; born 15 March 1976) is an Israeli lawyer, former Shin Bet official and politician who currently serves as a member of the Knesset for Likud and Minister of Justice. He is the first openly gay right-wing member of the Knesset and the first openly gay man from Likud to serve in the Knesset.[1] He is also the first openly LGBT person to be appointed as a minister in the Israeli government.[2]

Amir Ohana
MK Amir Ohana (cropped).jpg
Date of birth (1976-03-15) 15 March 1976 (age 44)
Place of birthBeersheba, Israel
Knessets20, 21, 22, 23
Faction represented in Knesset
2015–Likud
Ministerial roles
2019–Minister of Justice

Early lifeEdit

Ohana was born in Beersheba, the third son of Meir and Esther Ohana, Sephardic Jewish immigrants from Morocco. In his youth, his family moved to Lehavim and then to Rishon LeZion. He served in the Israel Defense Forces as a road accident investigator in the Military Police. He served as part of a force securing traffic arteries in the Gaza Strip and as a road accident investigator in southern Israel, completed an officer's course, and was a commander of the Karni crossing. He also commanded a military police base. Ohana served a total of six years of regular service in the IDF, and is still a reservist. After leaving regular military service, he served in Shin Bet for another six years.[3][4]

Ohana studied law at the College of Management Academic Studies, and after earning an LLB, he interned with the Israeli Justice Ministry in the State Prosecutor's Office. He then worked as a lawyer in criminal law for a decade.

Political careerEdit

 
Amir Ohana at Tel Aviv Pride

The chairman of the Likud gay caucus Likud Pride,[5][6] Ohana gained 32nd slot on the Likud list for the 2015 Knesset elections in the party primaries, a place reserved for a member from Tel Aviv District. Although he failed to gain a seat when the party won 30 seats, he moved to 31st spot after minister and MK Danny Danon resigned from the Knesset to assume position of Israel's envoy to the UN. Ohana eventually entered the Knesset on 27 December 2015 as a replacement for Silvan Shalom after he resigned amidst a sexual harassment scandal.[7] During his first term in the Knesset he served as a member of the Finance Committee and the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, as well chairing the Lobby for Shaping the Gun-Carrying Policy in Israel and joining the Lobby for Medical Cannabis. He also became co-chair the Israel–Japan Parliamentary Friendship Group.[8]

Minister of JusticeEdit

On 5 June 2019, Ohana was appointed Minister of Justice, becoming the first openly LGBT individual to serve in the government. Ohana is considered a Netanyahu loyalist, supporting exempting the prime minister from prosecution in the Netanyahu corruption investigations. Ohana's appointment came after controversial comments from Bezalel Smotrich, another contender for the same office, saying that he would like to establish a halachic state governed by Jewish religious law.[9]

Views and opinionsEdit

Ohana is a supporter of loosening the policy on carrying firearms in Israel in order to allow more armed people on streets for prevention and fast reaction to terror attacks.[10] After entering the Knesset, Ohana inaugurated the caucus to lobby and promote this cause.[11]

When opposition members of Knesset in February 2016 proposed several bills intended to improve the gay community’s status such as recognizing bereaved widowers, banning conversion therapy, recognizing same-sex marriage contracts and to train health professionals to deal with gender and sexual inclination issues, Ohana left the session without voting; he said he could not vote against these bills, but he did not want to violate the party line.[12]

He is a board member of Tadmor - Eretz Yisrael loyalists group within the Likud.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Ohana and his partner, Alon Hadad, have a son and a daughter together. Their children were born with a surrogate mother in the US state of Oregon.[13][14] They live in Tel Aviv.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Likud's First Openly Gay Lawmaker to Be Sworn in Following Silvan Shalom's Resignation Haaretz, 21 December 2015
  2. ^ "Netanyahu names Amir Ohana as new justice minister". The YnetNews. 6 May 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Knesset Member, Amir Ohana". www.knesset.gov.il.
  4. ^ Hoare, Liam (19 January 2016). "Israel's First Openly Gay Likud Lawmaker on Being in a Coalition With Anti-Gay Parties". Slate.
  5. ^ Amir Ohana Archived 22 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine Kol Oleh
  6. ^ a b "Amir Ohana Public Activities". www.knesset.gov.il.
  7. ^ Shalom resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations; to be replaced by first gay Likud MK The Jerusalem Post, 20 December 2015
  8. ^ Amir Ohana: Knesset Activities Knesset
  9. ^ "Netanyahu appoints Amir Ohana justice minister, first openly gay cabinet member". Times of Israel. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Gun control". Jerusalem Post Online. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Freshman Likud MK inaugurates Knesset caucus on gun rights". Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  12. ^ Knesset Scraps Bills for LGBT Community After Marking Gay Rights Day Haaretz, 25 February 2016
  13. ^ Omri Ariel. "Knesset to welcome in Amir Ohana, first right-wing openly gay MK". Jerusalem Online. Archived from the original on 24 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Likud Pride steps into the spotlight". Israel21c. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  15. ^ Amir Ohana on the Knesset website

External linksEdit