Knesset Drops MK Khenin’s Equality in Housing Bill

On Wednesday, December 23, the Knesset defeated a bill for equality in housing for Arabs, Ethiopians, Mizrahi and LGBTs. The bill proposed that, when selling or renting a property, apartment owners not be allowed to discriminate based of sexual orientation, gender, nationality, race, religion, country of origin, views, political affiliation, personal status, parenthood or disability.

MK Dov Khenin during this past year’s May Day parade in Tel Aviv with the Hadash banner calling for "Equality" in Hebrew and Arabic

MK Dov Khenin during this past year’s May Day parade in Tel Aviv with the Hadash banner calling for “Equality” in Hebrew and Arabic (Photo: Al Ittihad)

Hadash MK Dov Khenin (Joint List) initiator of the bill, said: “In recent weeks we have heard of cases in which Mizrahi and Arab persons were kept out of residential projects on public land, whether in by discriminatory marketing or offensive advertisements. In addition, we have witnessed protests against renting apartments to Arabs, as well as different methods used by organized purchasing groups to exclude Ethiopians.” The LGBT community is one of the groups that suffer discrimination in housing, even though this bias is not covered in the media. While it’s the manifestations of discrimination against the Arab population or Mizrahi Jews that have recently caused public debate – this is not the case with discrimination against LGBTs.

In the context of discrimination against the LGBT community in housing, MK Khenin said: “We shall not accept a situation in which people experience discrimination when they go to rent an apartment or buy a home, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The LGBT community has made quite a few achievements in recent years, but it is important to remember that the discrimination has not disappeared, and it also will not disappear if we don’t fight it. If the Knesset approved legislation concerning the rights of LGBTs for equality in housing – it would have been an important contribution to the struggle against homophobia.” Recently, the right-wing government has defeated two bills advancing the rights and welfare of the LGBT community: the bill stipulating that victims of hate crimes will receive compensation, like victims of terrorist acts (defeated on November 11), and the bill stating that discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity be considered discriminatory by law, defeated this week.