Israeli Parliament bans discrimination against LGBT youth in schools

Tuesday, March 18, the Israeli parliament passed a law that prohibits discrimination in schools against students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Twenty-five members of parliament, Knesset, voted in favor of the bill, with only two in opposition. The sponsor of the bill, Dov Khenin of the Hadash Party, said that this is the first law in Israel that bans discrimination based on gender identity.

 "In every school the right of LGBT youth to be equal students appears black and white. But this law is there to protect not only LGBT students, but is there to protect us all. If youth today are experiencing verbal abuse in schools, then physical violence against the [LGBT] community could become everyday reality,” says Khenin as reported in LGBTQ Nation.

Research done by Israel's Gay Youth Organization (IGY) indicates that 52% of LGBT youth in Israel have faced hate speech, 84% have reported that the Hebrew equivalents of gay or lesbian are frequently used as slurs.

Other than verbal violence, LGBT youth have also reported sexual harassment and physical violence at school. Students have complained that teachers did not respond or take action against these acts of violence, and even used hate speech themselves.

Passing this law is a major landmark, and they hope that there will be more to come in the struggle for complete equality in Israel.