Living in suburban America doesn’t allow one more than a glimpse into the sex-crazed debacle that has become modern Western civilization. On every street corner there are provocative posters for the newest clothing brands. Every mall features at least one store with access to pornography. No wonder homosexuality has undergone a paradigm shift–from adhorent to tolerable in the West. I’m returning to Israel in less than a month. I’m sure to find a mixture of left wing intellectuals, teenage punksters and junkies, and to top it off, gay rights activists.
Having spent the past four years delving into the mysteries of Jewish oral and written tradition, I’ve acquired a new perspetive on the meaning of life. It’s simply the most precious commodity we can ever hope to acquire. When I hear or witness people wasting their time and/or money, it makes me wonder what’s driving them to act so irresponsibly. I believe that one’s ability to have kids comes from G-d and like time and money is not to be wasted. What right then do gays have to waste this ability? This questioned may be answered once we’ve discovered whether homosexuality is a natural phenomenon: if one is born gay. I believe it’s not. The Torah and most Rabbis agree with me.
But besides the arguments for or against homosexuality, there’s a more wide-spread issue of Gay Pride parades invading the religious sanctity of the Land of Israel. I believe that every and village in Israel is holy so Tel-Aviv also falls into this category. Do gays hold their rallies as a sign of pride or do they do so simply to spite Israel’s religious communities? The answer is simple. Thousands of gays and lesbians live in Israel. Many of them serve in the army. Most hold jobs. Yes, they feel oppressed and ignored but why should it be any other way? Just because you’ve served your country and lead a productive life doesn’t mean you should be allowed to get in the way of others doing the same. The reason gays march in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem is oppression. Of the straight community. Especially religious Muslims and Jews.
I just finished re-reading the article I published a few years ago. In it, I stated that the most despicable aspect of the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem was the Rabbis’ position. Having spent four years in the Diaspora, I’m forced to disagree. I still maintain that cooperating with Arabs is wrong no matter what. I don’t think we should side with Arabs even if it means eradicating Gay Pride parades. But I can understand why there would be those amongst us willing to take this painful step.
Kahane’s “Why Be Jewish” talks about “Berny” chasing “Bridgette.” The Rabbi asks why so many Jewish men are attracted to Gentile women. The book is a classic and a must-read for those of contemplating marrying outside of the Tribe. When it comes to gays, the questions is “Why is Berny chasing Ben?” This is a question that must be addressed from the Halachic standpoint. Gays must have an alternative to their behavior. If they are provided an alternative, there will be less Gay Pride. There will be less provocation on their part. The bottom line is that Gay Pride parades must be stopped. Not by violence but by petitions to the Supreme Court and the Knesset.
Tel Aviv, 4/2/07: Two days ago I watched a lengthy documentary on the cancelled Gay- Pride parade in Jerusalem.
The documentary, which aired on channel 8, devoted itself to demonstrating a wide range of opinions, both adamantly homophobic ones, and those of gay-rights supporters and members of the Israel’s gay-lesbian community themselves.
I watched as an American Orthodox Rabbi pulled out all the stops to prevent the march from taking place. I watched as a young gay man who had been stabbed by a member of the Haredi community told his side of the story. I watched an elderly Israeli woman calling on all members of the Israeli religious community to sign a petition against the march.
The actions and decision-making of the American rabbi were what appalled and angered me most. He asked Palestinian imams for their community’s support in stopping the march. His reasoning for this: “The Muslim community is most likely to take violent steps in stopping the march.” In a face-to-face sit-down, the man, referring Jerusalem as Al-Quds, the Arabic name for the Israeli capital, called on all faiths to unite in suppressing the homosexual enemy.
Later, when war with Lebanon broke out, he gave an interview suggesting the war had been a result of preparations for the parade. When asked for his position regarding the stabbing of a gay man in 2005, he came up with a version unparalleled in creativity. This was no Rabin assassination conspiracy theory. There were far more intangibles and loose holes. This man tried proving the Haredi “gentleman” had somehow taken hold of the knife one of the protestors was wielding and used it in self-defense.
Other anti-gay activists were less provocative. What all of them shared in common was hatred, hatred of the other; hatred of those who had “sinned.”
The young man who had been attacked by the Haredi nut was neither the biggest intellectual, nor did he come across as especially peaceful and reconciliatory, but then again, why would one expect him to reconcile to having been stabbed because of his lifestyle!? He rattled off large volumes of anti-religious rhetoric, blaming the entire religious community for his sufferings, and vowing to fight “them” on their terms.
Two things struck me about this documentary: the gay community’s eagerness to march in Jerusalem, and Jerusalem in particular for reasons related more to trying to provoke Israel’s religious community than to their comfort level with being who they are, and certain Jews’ willingness to cooperate with the enemy, an enemy far more dangerous than the gay community to stop the march.
I wonder whether the religious Jews involved in actions focused on mutual concerns coordinated with Jerusalem’s Arab leadership realize the price for sitting there, hugging and shaking hands with either terrorists or those who incite terror and are responsible for the death and mutilation of numbers of Jews. I wonder how far they’re willing to go to stop a gay-pride parade. Are they willing to threaten? Malign? Murder? Does Judaism give a go-ahead to murdering homosexuals who want to march in Jerusalem?
I’m no supporter of gay-pride. As I stated above, I don’t care one bit for these “gay pride” parades: their taking pride in their sexual orientation. But I’m also a staunch supporter of freedom of speech.
In the end, the war ended all hopes for a parade in Jerusalem—at least this year. Instead, members of the gay community met in what I supposed to be Teddy Stadium to voice their grievances. They hope to return to Jerusalem and hold a gay-pride parade there one day. And as much as I oppose this kind of activity, I would hate for it to be disrupted by violence. The question for me is not whether we oppose a gay-pride parade in the Holy City but how we go about doing this.