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February 28, 2023 9:08 am

Noam Party MK Avi Maoz Resigns as Deputy Minister

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Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister-designate, speaks at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, during a special session whereby a confidence vote will be held to approve and swear-in a new coalition government, in Jerusalem June 13, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun – Knesset member Avi Maoz resigned his post as deputy minister on Monday, citing a lack of intent on the part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to honor its coalition agreement.

However, the right-wing lawmaker and head of the Noam Party said that while he was stepping down as minister, he would continue to vote with the coalition, which has a 64-seat majority, in the Knesset.

In his resignation letter to Netanyahu, Maoz wrote that he had “found that there is no real intention to uphold the coalition agreement” regarding the creation of an office to bolster Jewish identity, which Maoz was to have headed.

An outspoken opponent of LGBTQ rights and of women serving in the army, Maoz’s appointment, which was widely covered in the international press, was met with outrage by some Israeli and American Jews, especially in liberal circles.

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Among the unsuccessful initiatives he sought to enact during his short stint as minister were the reintroduction of the labels “father” and “mother” on official government forms, instead of the more progressive “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” adopted during the Lapid-Bennett government, and a change in state policy towards the egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall.

Maoz had told associates early on that he would resign if was not able to effect change.

The office, which came with a two-year 440 million shekel ($125 million) budget, will now revert back to the Education Ministry.

Opposition lawmakers welcomed his resignation, with former Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen (Yesh Atid) tweeting: “One less homophobe in the government.”

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