High Court backs broadcast of television program on gays

JERUSALEM, Sept. 23 (JTA) – Israel’s High Court of Justice has approved the broadcast of a television program about homosexual teens. The court ruled this week on a petition filed by gay and civil rights organizations after Education Minister Zevulun Hammer tried to block the broadcast of “An Open Hand” on Educational Television. Hammer, who heads the National Religious Party, maintained that Educational Television should have simultaneously offered other programming that would promote what he termed “family values,” as well as presented the model of a “heterosexual, traditional Jewish family.” “I think the court would have acted more suitably had it accepted my proposal to present a new program which would present the matter in a more balanced fashion,” Hammer said. Knesset member Hanan Porat of the NRP said he regretted the decision and was concerned the program would encourage homosexuality among youth. Meanwhile, Labor Knesset member Yael Dayan, who heads a parliamentary subcommittee on homosexual rights, welcomed the court ruling as a step towards recognition of gay rights. The justices, including court president Aharon Barak, said that such a program within the framework of Educational Television could contribute to nurturing more tolerance in Israeli society.

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