Israel's LGBTQ community expressed rage Monday after Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu signed a coalition deal granting a "homophobic" far-right lawmaker Avi Maoz a cabinet post.
"It's a dark day for Israel," the head of leading LGBTQ rights group Aguda, Hila Peer, told AFP after Netanyahu and Maoz signed a deal on Sunday that would grant the latter a post as deputy minister in the upcoming coalition government.
After Netanyahu topped the polls earlier this month, he is expected to form a coalition with two ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties and the extreme-right Religious Zionism alliance, as well as Maoz's smaller Noam faction.
In a radio interview earlier in November, Maoz -- widely known for his anti-LGBTQ stances -- said: "We're going to study the legal avenues to cancel Gay Pride."
Religious Zionism leaders Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich also have a long history of hostility towards the LGBTQ community.
In 2006, the duo organised a "beast march" which saw opponents of the Pride parade walk alongside donkeys in Jerusalem.
In addition to his post as deputy minister, Maoz will also head an organisation in charge of "Jewish identity" to be formed under the premier's supervision.
"He is a homophobic, misogynistic and xenophobic figure with positions known to all and to whom power and authority will be given," she added.
Activists fear the rise of such figures could threaten LGBTQ rights in the Jewish state, as well as women's rights, Peer said.
Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid meanwhile described in a tweet the agreement naming Maoz as deputy minister as "nothing short of insane".
Netanyahu has been given 28 days to form a government, with a possible extension of 14 days.
As Israel's longest-serving former premier, his upcoming coalition government has been widely dubbed the most right-wing in the country's history.
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