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Grandson of ex-Chief Rabbi, who called gay people ‘evil’, to marry boyfriend

Ella Braidwood June 2, 2018

Rabbi Ovadia Yossef, spiritual leader of the Israeli ultra-Orthodox Shas party, gestures during a meeting in Jerusalem on December 11, 2011. French ambassador to Israel, Christophe Bigot, visited Yossef in an effort to secure the release of Salah Hamuri , a Palestinian-French citizen and a resident of east Jerusalem who is accused by Israeli authorities of having the intention to kill the rabbi. AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

The grandson of a former Chief Rabbi, who had said “homosexuals are completely evil,” is to marry his long-term boyfriend in a ceremony next week.

Ovadia Cohen, whose grandfather was Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former spiritual leader of the Shas political party and ex-Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Isreal, will wed his partner Amichai Landsman, reports Tel Aviv-based newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth

The couple have been together for three years.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef passed away in 2013, aged 93.

Cohen was allegedly close to his grandfather, and had grown up in his home following the divorce of his parents.

“I was blessed with a wonderful family which accepted me from the very first moment, and they accepted Ovadia as well,” Landsman told Yedioth Ahronoth.

“We are fully out and proud. Ovadia took a very brave step to be in a relationship with me and we are happy to get married. I am not part of the religious gay community but I think they do great work.”

Participants attend the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade on August 3, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Gali TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)
An LGBT pride parade in Jerusalem. (Getty)

Cohen had previously been married to a woman, having two children with her before they divorced.

He then came out as gay, and met Landsman, who was raised in a religious-Zionist community in Haifa.

According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the pair moved in together before telling their families about their relationship.

Landsman, the paper reports, was accepted “relatively well,” but Cohen’s family “found it much harder to accept his homosexuality.”

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was well known for his controversial views. In 2006, he joined protests against the WorldPride march in Jerusalem, describing the pro-LGBT event as “filth.”

The wedding ceremony will be attended by around 200 guests, mostly Landsman’s relatives and those from the religious gay community, alongside a small number of Cohen’s family, reports the publication.

Rabbi Ovadia Yossef (left). (Photo credit should read YOAV LEMMER/AFP/Getty Images)

Zahorit Sorek, a lesbian and a member of the religious ceremony, will conduct the ceremony.

Cohen and Landsman’s marriage will be the seventh ceremony she has carried out for members of the LGBT community.

Earlier this year, a leading conservative rabbi, Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira, said homosexuality is “an illness” and that Israel “looks more and more like LGBT-stan.”

Gay sex is forbidden in stricter strands of Judaism, like the Sephardi branch, which is Orthodox.

In June last year, Rabbi Joseph Dweck, the head of the Sephardi movement – one of two main branches of Judaism in the UK – stepped down after saying homosexuality is becoming more accepted, describing this as “a fantastic development for humanity.”

More: equal marriage

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