A new Web initiative seeks to help religious homosexuals and lesbians find a partner for procreation purposes – as long as they promise to try to change their sexual orientation.
Currently, religious gay people are not entitled to use the sector's regular matchmaking service. In the coming days, the Kamoha website for Orthodox homosexuals will introduce a new page resembling leading dating websites. But unlike similar initiatives which have failed in the past, this one enjoys the support of senior Religious Zionism rabbis.
As Jewish Halacha forbids homosexual relations, the initiative will connect between men and women seeking to start a family in Israel,
even without sexual attraction, in order to bring religious children into the world and provide them with traditional education. Thus, a religious gay man will be able to meet a religious lesbian woman through the website and have children with her.
The initiative is being led by Orthodox Rabbi Arale Harel, former head of the Shilo hesder yeshiva. According to Harel, the program has the support of additional Religious Zionism rabbis, including Haim Drukman, Yaakov Ariel and Elyakim Levanon.
Harel says he has so far matched more than 10 gay-lesbian couples, and is now seeking to institutionalize the issue.
"There is no rabbi who will approve such a marriage," he explains. "We are aware of the fact that the man and woman may have extramarital relations according to their sexual inclination, but at least they won't be cheating on their partners, as it will be done with their consent."
Nonetheless, Harel has added a condition for the match, which may deter religious homosexuals and lesbians. According to the rabbi, the couple will first have to undergo "psychological conversion therapy aimed at helping the patients change their sexual inclination."
Those seeking to use the website's services will undergo a screening process, and after paying NIS 150 (about $42) in order to prove that they are serious about the issue, they will be able to go out with members of the opposite sex while receiving psychological and rabbinical advice.
"Almost everyone understands that there are those who simply cannot change," Harel admits. "This initiative was designed for them."