Following a statement by a religious right-wing electoral candidate that gay marriages will destroy the Jewish people, Meretz, a left wing Israeli party, performed mock gay marriages outside Tel-Aviv’s rabbinical court.
The protests were lead by out gay Israeli MP Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) who also conducted several mock ‘gay marriages’, some of them marrying straight supporters of equality to their same-sex friends.
The anti-gay statements were condemned across the Israeli political spectrum, ahead of Israel’s general election next month.
Earlier this week prominent politician and candidate Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, of The Jewish Home Party told Walla News he objected to gay marriage.
Dahan who is also a former director of the Israeli rabbinical court system said: ‘Every sociology professor will tell you that the foundation of every nation is the family unit.
‘If we legitimize a unit that creates a reality that has no continuity, for a personal momentary self-gratification, without foresight and without producing a new generation -aims at a destruction of a race.
‘The Jewish people would be destroyed.
‘Should we give a legal recognition to a reality which does not produce a new generation without seeing the future and a generational continuity?’
Dahan’s statement were endorsed by The Jewish Home party’s leader Naftali Bennett, who reiterated yesterday his recent statement that he objects to same-sex marriage.
Israel currently recognizes same-sex marriages performed outside the country and same-sex cohabitation and adoption, but does not allow same-sex or civil marriage for heterosexuals where one partner is a different religion to the other – meaning that thousands of Israeli couples must travel abroad to get married each year.
During the Tel-Aviv protest against Dahan’s anti-gay rant, Horowtiz said: ‘Because there are no civil unions in Israel, no same-sex marriage and no freedom of choice in marriage, hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens are deprived of this basic right.’
‘They must fly abroad, spend thousands of dollars, become entangled with legal issues, are harassed by the clerks … and after all that there are those who still have the nerve to say we are destroying the Jewish people — like some members of a certain right-wing party.’
‘The ones who are distancing us from Judaism are those same people who express themselves in such a manner, people who spread hate and meanness.’
Horowitz put forward a bill in May which would have allowed interfaith and same-sex marriages in Israel but it was rejected by the government.
Politicians of Israel’s right wing ruling party, The Likud-Beytenu, also condemed Dahan’s statement.
Yet LGBT campaigners pointed out that while many center-right Israeli politicians are quick to condemn homophobic statements, they actually vote against any equality measures.
Speaking with GSN, Yair Hochner, a Meretz activist and director of Tel-Aviv’s LGBT film festival said: ‘We can see who are the real politicians that work to legislate for equality and who making pro-gay rights statements and political propaganda yet vote against it’.
Hochner said that this amounts to use of LGBT rights as a political propaganda known as pinkwashing.
A national political LGBT panel is taking place right now in Tel-Aviv to discuss the issues facing Israel’s gay community.
Speaking with GSN, Shabi Gatenio, chair of Otzma, the political division of the Aguda, Israel’s main LGBT organization, and organizer of the panel said: ‘The grave statement of Rabbi Dahan is a common view, to our regret, in the brand of Judaism which he represents.
‘We hope that The Jewish Home Party will be left outside a future government as it has been presently’.
Watch here pictures taken by Yair Hochner of the protest: