JERUSALEM, Israel -- Knesset member Anastasia Michaeli apologized if "anyone was hurt" by her remarks about Channel 10's programming earlier this week, which she says promotes a gay agenda.
Michaeli said her intention was to open the issue up for discussion, saying she respects "the right of every person to live as he sees fit," but "silence and denial only worsen the problem." She also clarified her comment that homosexuals "commit suicide when they're 40," saying the stress they deal with everyday makes them vulnerable to suicide.
In a discussion Wednesday on harassment of women in the workplace before the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, which was broadcast on Army Radio, the mother of eight said, "To my regret, when I turn on Channel 10, I see so-called entertainment shows about how nice it is to be homosexual."
"We must examine why Channel 10 has the right to broadcast content like this, which shows and tells children how fun and nice it is [for a man] to wear a dress and put on makeup," Michaeli told committee members. Why does Channel 10 "show men dancing in skirts and makeup?"
"I really think that most homosexuals are people who are going through a very difficult time because they were sexually harassed from a very young age," she said, relating one Channel 10 program in which the divorced mother of a gay son spoke about how desperately unhappy her life has been.
Her party, Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel our Home) quickly distanced itself, saying, "Michaeli's comments are her personal opinion and do not represent the views of the party."
Dror Mizrachi, chairman of the ultra-left-wing Meretz party, recommended she "start acting on behalf of the equality for the gay community in Israel," saying her opinion is based on "stereotypes and prejudice."
Avner Dafni, director of Israel Gay Youth, said "Michaeli's comments belong to a time when they'd burn witches at the stake."