Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai has sent a letter to the prime minister, Tel Aviv's mayor, and the police demanding that the Pride Parade be canceled or restricted to a certain area of Tel Aviv this year.
A number of rabbis and other MKs have signed the letter, including National Union MK Uri Ariel and United Torah Judaism MK Menachem Eliezer Moses. Ariel told Ynet he thought the parade should be more modest. "It's time for them to grow up. You don't have to do it in the main street in front of everyone," he said.
The letter contends that if the parade is not canceled, it should be held in a closed area and access should be restricted to people age 18 and up. The MKs also object to any sexual content being portrayed.
The area intended for the march, the letter says, should be "far from religious centers and juvenile passersby who may be exposed to unacceptable content, and certainly not make use of public parks".
In an appeal to the police Yishai writes, "It is reasonable that Israel Police, which is escorting the parade, reach an understanding with its organizers regarding the content of the parade and make sure it is not sexual, perverse, harmful to women, or pornographic in any way."
Yishai and the other MKs also ask that the police and the Tel Aviv Municipality investigate all those who plan to appear at the event, including the dancers performing on various floats, to make sure they are above the age of 18 and that they are not carrying with them objects that can be construed in a sexual way.
"The acceptance of the 'Pride Parade' as part of our lives does not mean we can't defend ourselves and those who need to be defended against it, especially children. The easily accessible sexual content of the parade exposes children to negative influences, and the public's interest is to defend the kids," the letter says.
Chairman of the GLBT Association in Israel, Mike Hamel, said in response to the letter that "Eli Yishai is once again whistling the same old tune and proving that anyone who said, 'Why do you need to march in Jerusalem, you have Tel Aviv', didn't know what was coming."
Hamel added, "Eli Yishai represents the dark culture of ignorance. He and the respectable rabbis and MKs need to take a little responsibility for what they see as their flock and stop ignoring the people in their community who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. This is a crazy decision of which we have seen the results in Schlissel's deeds in Jerusalem three years ago."
Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz said in response to the letter,"We invite Minister Yishai and his friends to proudly march with us in the streets of Tel Aviv."
The MK added that Yishai "is even welcome to marry the gays and lesbians in the wedding of the century that will take place at the end of the parade. The only thing we plan to cancel in the parade is the hatred and replace it with pride and love."
Eli Senyor contributed to this report