Israel adds $5 million US in funding to serve LGBT community’s needs

(JTA) – Israel has added more than $5 million US over the next two years to address the needs of the LGBT community after an earlier government funding proposal drew criticism.

The government will provide 10 million shekels (approximately $2.64 million US) annually in each of the next two years to various government ministries for initiatives that will benefit LGBT Israelis, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said Wednesday, according to Haaretz.

”There’s no doubt that this is a significant milestone on the gay community’s road to living equally in Israel,” said Ohad Hizki, director of the Israeli National LGBT Task Force, according to Haaretz.

In April, LGBT activists slammed an initiative by the Tourism Ministry to spend 11 million shekels (approximately $2.90 million US) to increase gay tourism to the country, while the government allocated 1.5 million shekels ($396,000 US) to LGBT groups. LGBT leaders called on the government to increase spending to benefit their community.

The plan announced Wednesday includes funding for LGBT support and student groups, anti-discrimination programming and a panel dedicated to approving gender reassignment surgeries at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer.

Kahlon also said every government ministry will appoint a position aimed at combating discrimination against the LGBT community.

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