Rabbis condemn anti-gay shooting
Chief Rabbinate says appalled at 'unthinkable, vile crime' that left two dead. Gay Orthodox rabbi calls on public leaders to denounce attack
Kobi Nahshoni • Ynet
The Chief Rabbinate expressed shock and outrage at the Tel Aviv shooting at a gay youth center Saturday evening, calling it "an unthinkable, vile crime." In a statement published Sunday the Rabbinate said that, "When Moses saw a Jew beating another Jew he called him evil. This is all the more true when a Jew murders a Jew."
Meanwhile, the Hod organization for Orthodox gay men strongly condemned "the horrible massacre committed against the gay and lesbian community in Tel Aviv," conveyed its condolences to the victims' families and wished speedy recovery to those who were injured.
Rabbi Ron Yosef, a homosexual Orthodox rabbi who runs the organization, told Ynet that he has been receiving threats on his life in the last year.
"I call on the Israeli and especially public leaders and rabbis from across the political spectrum, to denounce and condemn this crime and expressions of hatred and violence, and act firmly against the verbal and physical violence directed at gays and lesbians," Rabbi Yosef stated.
The Havruta group for religious gays in Israel, said in response to the attack: "We at Havruta are shocked by the shooting and the killing of two innocent people, and the wounding of people who never harmed anyone.
"We hope that the police catch this despicable murderer and bring him to justice. The Havruta family sends its condolences to the families of those killed and prays for the speedy recovery of all those who were injured."
The organization has opened a 24-hour hotline for religious gays and their families and said it would provide assistance through its website as well.
The two groups asked to dedicate the following Psalms chapter to the victims:
A Song of Ascents: Out of the depths have I called Thee, O Lord
Lord, hearken unto my voice; let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
For with Thee there is forgiveness, that Thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning; yea, more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption.
And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
But gay activists note constant attacks from haredi rabbis, especially linked to Shas. And at least one of those attacks was physical:
…Eight years ago, when a youth group was established in the town of Hadera, we were ambushed by dozens of haredi thugs organized by the local Shas chairman. They raided the branch, beat us up, threatened us, and threw us out. It worked out for them; a few gay teenagers cannot face hate-filled brigades.…
All you need to do is read the stories I posted rekated to Jerusalem's Gay Pride Parade to see that haredi rabbis – including the chief rabbis – have repeatedly gone way beyond the pale in attacking homosexuals.
For example, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch said homosexuals are "evil criminals who have no place with the God of Israel."
Perhaps the most vile of these is the kiruv rabbi who urged homosexuals to kill themselves.
We do not know who the killer is or what affiliations he may have.
But it is clear the language used by haredi rabbis set the tone for these murders.
Condemnation of the murders after the fact is not enough.
These haredi rabbis need to publicly apologize for the language they used and they must state clearly and unequivocally, as the chief rabbis have already done, that any type of violence against homosexuals is forbidden.