Leading American Rabbi Yehuda Levin organized a Jerusalem conference attended by both Jewish and Arab religious leaders who expressed their staunch objection to holding the Gay Pride Parade in the capital.
The parade is scheduled to take place two months from now.
Previous Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem (Photo: Haim Tzach)
Among the participants were Arab-Israeli sheik and MK Ibrahim Sarsur, Tekoa Rabbi Menachem Froman and Arab MK Abas Zkoor.
The two leading Palestinian religious leaders, Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi and Sheikh Hamad Bitawi, were denied entry to Israel but phoned in their objection to holding the event in Jerusalem.
During the conference Sarsur said “if they (gays) will dare to approach the Temple Mount during the parade – they will do so over our dead bodies,” adding that “the Gay Pride Parade is an attack on Jerusalem that aims to damage the Islamic identity of young Arabs in the city.”
“This attack is more venomous than the Zionist attack to make Jerusalem Jewish,” he said.
Rabbi Fromen, who has remained in contact with Muslim leaders for many years, told Ynet that he did not attend the conference as a religious leader but “to explain how the Muslims view the Gay Parade.”
“I was there as a professor,” he said.
To those on hand Fromen said, “holding such an event in Jerusalem validates the Muslim theory that the US sent the Zionist heretics to desecrate places holy to Islam, to negatively-influence Muslim youth and ruin the Muslim tradition.”
Some prefer fanatic, dark Jerusalem
“This is the root of the deep hatred Muslims have for Israel,” he said. “The Muslims are horrified by the public gay displays that emanate from the US. The last intifida is named after Jerusalem – 'al-Aqsa'. The feeling is that Jews disgrace Jerusalem's holiness with the government's encouragement. In their eyes the parade is part of a whole chapter where Israel brings the defilement of the United States and the West into the holy land and Jerusalem. And they react to it with bloodshed.
"If left-wingers say that we have to make difficult compromises for peace," he added, "than the parade should be cancelled."
Only the foreign press was invited to the current conference, but Rabbi Levin plans on another press conference in two weeks for the Israeli press, with the participation of religious leaders from the three religions in order to create a united religious front against the parade.
Noa Satat, chairwoman of the Open House organization in Jerusalem, said in response: "Jerusalem in our view will be a center of tolerance, pluralism, and love for mankind. Unfortunately some prefer to see it as fanatic, dark, and hateful. The many participants who will take part in the Pride events – from Israel as well as from all over the world – will be the best answer to the show of darkness that only belittles the name of Islam and the city."
"We invite MK Sarsur to take part in an interfaith conference that is scheduled to take place for the first time ever in World Pride events. The conference will include religious leaders from the gay community, Muslims, Jews, and Christians in a display of a religious voice that respects all human beings who were created in God's image, and obligated to universal values of tolerance and human love," she said.