The Israeli interior minister has joined calls from rabbis asking for Tel Aviv’s annual Pride parade to be cancelled.

In a letter addressed to Israel’s police chief, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Tel Aviv’s mayor, an attorney representing interior minister Eli Yishai of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party and the country’s chief rabbis wrote: “You are asked to order the cancellation of the gay parade in Tel Aviv.”

The letter continued: “We urge you to restrict the event to a closed area to which entry will be limited to people above the age of 18.

“The holding of a parade similar to those held in the past on its current route constitutes a grave insult to the feelings of the public, especially to the Jewish, Christian and Muslim public.

“Even in a constitutional democracy sensitive to the freedom of expression, there is no right to allow the consumption of abominations,” the minister’s letter said.

“Please order the event to be held not in its current location but on the outskirts of the city away from the religious population and minors who could be exposed to this material.”

The parade, due to be held tomorrow, has taken place every year in Tel Aviv since 1998 and usually faces little opposition, unlike Jerusalem Pride which has been marred by violence in the past.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai stressed today that the parade will continue, despite Yishai’s demands.

He said: “The Tel Aviv – Jaffa municipality has been supporting the Pride parade for over a decade. The Pride parade was adopted in Tel Aviv – Jaffa as in many other cities around the world, and today it also attracts tourists that join the thousands of participants, who are not necessarily members of the community, but come to celebrate in a happy party that marches the city’s streets proudly each year.”