Reuven Rivlin the Speaker (presiding officer) of the Knesset – the Israeli parliament – has angered conservative Jewish Knesset members (MKs) over his plans to meet with leaders of the gay community in Israel in honor of Gay Pride Month.

One MK, Nissim Ze’ev said: “I am astonished over the Knesset Speaker’s decision to host so-called gay families. I can’t understand his motive.”

Ze’ev said that the event, which will be Israel’s third in as many years, was “an insult to the Knesset’s honor, and an insult to Muslims and to traditional Jews who obey mitzvot [commandments].”

He also said that giving time and consideration to the country’s LGBT community “encourages the destruction of the family unit” and “reveals the dark side of society.”

United Torah Judaism reportedly oppose both the event and Rivlin’s participation strongly.

Speaking to the daily Tel Aviv newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Deputy Education Minister Menahem Eliezer Moses said: “They aren’t people like everyone else.”

He added: “In the Torah it says that this is an abomination . . . and the Union for Traditional Judaism is a part of it . . . giving it patronage and legitimisation. It doesn’t make sense.

“It’s hard for me to believe that the Knesset speaker will go to the event. It’s unlike a Jew like Rivlin to participate in something like this. The Knesset speaker represents us – we voted for him. We can’t allow him to participate in the event. I’m shocked.”

Since the article was published, all five UTJ MKs refused to comment on the issue.

Rivlin’s office issued a statement saying that the conference has taken place every year for the past three years, and “the Knesset speaker accepts every group and every opinion. Rivlin plans to say a few words to the group, and that is all.”

PinkNews.co.uk will be reporting from Tel Aviv pride on Friday.