Yigal Levinstein is not the only prominent Religious-Zionist rabbi condemning gays and lesbians: Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan Yaakov Ariel, one of the leaders of Religious Zionism, stated at a conference in Ramla last month that the members of the gay and lesbian community are "disabled people suffering from a real problem that must be solved with psychological and pharmacological treatments."
Ariel addressed Levinstein's statements on Sunday and stated that, though his style was blunt, Ariel identified with their content. "Our job is to strengthen the family," he said. "A normative family is a father and a mother and children. A non-normative family is not an ordered and proper family. It has psychological and other problems."
According to Ramat Gan's chief rabbi, pride in one's sexual orientation is unusual and presenting it as "progressive" causes many young persons to choose not to identify as straight. "Young boys going through puberty who are looking for their identity—instead of helping them to find their natural and normative identity, they push them to go in the opposite direction and ruin their lives.
"We must do everything to help them… There are medications, psychological treatment, and ways like this and others, medical or spiritual or explanatory actions."
Ariel claimed that Pride parades are what are creating legitimacy. "Being proud of this and receiving public legitimacy?! This is creating the problem! Have mercy on them," he exclaimed. "There's no place for Pride parades. What are they proud of? We need to find the proper and true way to deal with this issue properly. When a person doesn't have a natural connection to the opposite sex, this is a disability. Let's make this clear. He can't establish a normative family. So the disabled need treatment, need help—all of this is correct, but pride? What's the pride of the disabled? What's there to be proud of?"
The rabbi explained his viewpoint: "A child needs to born to two parents, and the meaning is male and female. A child of two females, a child of two males—he is not a normative child. A child like this doesn't have parents, and I'm not talking about the psychological side, which is problematic of itself."
Ariel condemned the murder of Shira Banki in last year's Jerusalem Pride parade. He called it "a serious crime," but he hurried to clarify that he did not mean to grant legitimacy to the Pride parade: "Judaism rejects this approach. I won't go into the question if this is congenital or this is generated during one's life. It's obvious that there are some of each. In lots of cases, it's the result of mishaps that took place in the family during childhood."
Chotam, an organization that seeks "to return Judaism to the center of the public agenda," according to its website, has Ariel as its president. They released a statement saying, "The attempts to make those with opposite orientations the standard and the normative phenomenon, while putting natural families in the closet, are unacceptable and outrageous. It is bizarre that those values of openness and acceptance are in their mouths, those who manage an aggressive campaign of silencing rabbis who are expressing in a clear voice Judaism's position."
The non-profit organization Kamoha – Gay Orthodox Jew, commented on Levinstein's pronouncements, as well: "In both Jewish and general history, same-sex attraction is not considered as unnatural attraction. Judaism saw male homosexual acts as one sin amongst many, similar to the other sins connected to sexual misconduct, and not as a sin against nature. Only in European society of the modern era did they begin to see it as something unnatural, and that spread to Judaism, too. The Torah does not define naturalness, and it's hard to speak in the Torah's name in this regard."