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200 Israeli rabbis call gays ‘perverts’ in shocking letter against same-sex surrogacy

Josh Jackman July 27, 2018
A woman carrying a child on her shoulder waves a rainbow flag during the opening event of the annual Gay Pride parade in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, on June 3, 2016. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty)

The letter condemned same-sex parents (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty)

More than 200 rabbis have signed a letter calling gay people “perverts” who want to “destroy the concept of family.”

The inflammatory open letter was published by ultra-Orthodox Israeli leaders in the midst of ongoing protests by pro-LGBT+ activists against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to block an amendment which would have given gay couples surrogacy rights.

His move has led to a tidal wave of fury against the state and Netanyahu personally, with massive rallies in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Karmiel attracting around 100,000 people.

Revellers celebrate along a sea side avenue in Tel Aviv during the Israeli city's annual Gay Pride parade on June 8, 2018. - Tens of thousands of people gathered along the beach in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv for the largest Gay Pride event in the Middle East. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Netanyahu sparked outrage by blocking the amendment (GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty)

The protests, which have been supported by the majority of the Israeli public, received a backlash earlier this week, when Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Aryeh Stern said that same-sex parents’ children would have “wretched” lives.

He added that gay surrogacy would lead “children to be born and enter a very strange and unnatural life, a life without a mother and father.”

This was contradicted by a study released last week which revealed that children of same-sex parents are as happy and healthy as children of straight parents.

Israelis dance during the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade on July 21, 2016. Israeli media said a record 25,000 people took part in Jerusalem's Gay Pride parade under heavy police protection, a year after an ultra-Orthodox Jew killed a teenager at the march. / AFP / GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)
Israelis dance during the Jerusalem Pride Parade (GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty)

Hundreds of rabbis leapt to his defence on Thursday (July 26), attaching their names to a letter which consistently defined straight parents as “normal” and gay parents as “perverts,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

The message said that people were “outraged by the provocations of the organisations of abomination, who carry out impudent marches in the cities of Israel.”

They criticised activists for using their freedom to protest to “arrange marches of abomination on the Fast of Av, a day of national mourning for the Temple.”

Revellers celebrate along a sea side avenue in Tel Aviv during the Israeli city's annual Gay Pride parade on June 8, 2018. - Tens of thousands of people gathered along the beach in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv for the largest Gay Pride event in the Middle East. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Attendees enjoy the 2018 Tel Aviv Pride parade (GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty)

The rabbis then seemed to imply that LGBT+ people were responsible for the razing of the Second Temple in Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago, saying it was “destroyed in part due to illicit sexual relations.”

They added that activists’ “aggressive terror which accompanies the media’s brainwashing” had been created in order to “destroy the concept of family and turn perverts into heroes” and make the general public into “delusional extremists.”

The letter continued: “Rabbi Aryeh Stern came out in defence of the children of Israel who will become wretched if they are not adopted by normative families.”

Without straight parents, they added, children would not “grow up to be normal and psychologically healthy.”

The letter has been condemned by groups and leaders like lawmaker Stav Shaffir of the centre-left Zionist Union, who told students: “I turn to you, young women and men who learn with these rabbis, you are not deviant.

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)
“Israeli society has woken up. Stay strong” (GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty)

“You are wonderful,” she continued, according to The Times of Israel.

“You are good people, strong, loving and most importantly, equal. It is forbidden to spend even a minute on these harsh words of leaders who have lost control and are attempting by force to drag us decades backwards.

“Israeli society has woken up. Stay strong,” she added.

SHEFAYIM, ISRAEL - JUNE 02: Two men kiss as people dance during a Water Park party on June 2, 2016 in Shefayim, Israel. Ahead of the annual Gay pride parade in Tel Aviv taking place on June 3, LGBT tourists from across the world visit Israel for the week in a build-up to Tel Aviv Pride, one of the Pride capitols of the world. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
“Benighted rabbis will be left behind” (Ilia Yefimovich/Getty)

Yael German, a lawmaker for centrist party Yesh Atid, said: “The time has come for them to realise that the national-religious community also has [LGBT] people, and no letter will change the fact that they are totally normative and want to live a full and equal life out of the closet.”

Michal Rozin, who represents left-wing Meretz in Parliament, said that the Israeli public was “progressive and understands that love has many diverse colours, and benighted rabbis will be left behind, and they are in a panic.”

Earlier this week, Israel’s high court sided with two different cases involving the rights of same-sex parents, ordering the state to carry out a series of instructions in support of LGBT+ rights.

More: Gay, Israel, Israel, Law, Middle East, Politics, prime minister benjamin netanyahu, rabbis, same sex parents, surrogacy

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