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ADDED ON: 02/24/2021

Homophobia soared in Israel amid coronavirus lockdowns

02/23/2021 | Reuters

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Homophobia and transphobia surged by 27% in Israel during the COVID-19 pandemic, as lockdowns trapped gay and transgender people at home with abusive families, one of the country’s oldest LGBT+ rights groups said. The Aguda received a record 2,696 reports in 2020 – up from 2,125 the previous year – with sharp increases among people in their 30s, women and incidents that took place in the home. “This ugly hatred towards the LGBTQ community has reached an all time record in 2020,” Ohad Hizki, chief executive of The Aguda, said in statement accompanying the report. “Hatred ruins the lives of thousands of LGBTQs who are asking to live their life with dignity and safety.” Israel is the most liberal country for LGBT+ rights in the Middle East and one of a handful, along with Jordan and Bahrain, where same-sex relations are legal. However, many Orthodox Jewish and Muslim communities in Israel oppose LGBT+ rights. Israel introduced three national lockdowns in 2020, from late March to early May and two shorter ones in September and December. Curbs have been eased following the rapid vaccination of about half the population.

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