200 Israeli rabbis call gays ‘perverts’ in shocking letter against same-sex surrogacy
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.
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“Israeli society has woken up. Stay strong,” she added.
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.