Photo: Avigail Uzi
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Photo: Avigail Uzi

Pride parade – right or wrong?

Does gay parade endanger our existence or is it in line with Jewish values?

Moshe Feiglin Yuval Ben Ami 

Moshe Feiglin
"Actually, why do you care that they march in Jerusalem, do their koochie-moochie, and go back home?" the radio interviewer asked me. "You know," he added, "this is how it is in democracy. Everyone has their own koochie-moochie. One moment you wait at home for him to finish with his business, and the next time he waits at home for you to be done with your business."


"Interesting," I replied. "When I attempted to pray at Temple Mount the police arrested me. Nobody there had any tolerance for my koochie-moochie." "How is this related," said the radio announcer from Eilat. "The Temple Mount is a Muslim mosque – you can pray at the Western Wall and they pray at the Mount."


I was a little shocked and attempted to explain on air that the Western Wall is merely the wrapping for the real thing, which is Temple Mount, the site of the Jewish Temple and the holiest place for the people of Israel in the last 3,000 years. Yet the sound of the Red Sea waves apparently did not allow my words to be grasped. There, at the Eilat studio, the Temple is a Muslim mosque.


It's completely unclear to me why Justice Beinish decided that the right of homosexuals to hurt the feelings of the vast majority of Jerusalem residents – both Jews and Arabs – must be safeguarded, while my right to pray at the site of the Jewish Temple must be abolished, because the Arabs claim it hurts their feelings.


But the truth is that this story about the Temple Mount prayer does not really explain my objection to the march. This is merely a good example of the hypocrisy displayed by Israel's legal system and police, as well as our own contempt for ourselves along with self-depreciation in the face of anything that comes from the outside, both from the West and East.


This is a good example that still does not answer the question – why do I really care about this march? Is it really just a matter of hurt feelings? Certainly not. I would handle my feelings. But here we're talking about a grave damage not to feelings, but to our very ability to exist in this country.


We must make a distinction between the right of every person to live in accordance with the way he sees fit – regardless of how unusual this way is – and the attempt to force such anomalous conduct on the public. Nobody is persecuting homosexuals because of their sexual practices. Personally, it disgusts and repulses me, but their conduct in the privacy of their own home is their business, not mine.


Their urge to march out in the open does not stem from a desire to safeguard their civil rights, but rather, out of a desire to force the legitimization of their different conduct on the general public.


They seek to create a moral legitimacy to their way of life. The writings of their thinkers talk about changing public discourse – which is a different matter altogether than changing court rulings in individual cases.


A clear line exists between individual sins, undertaken in the dark and lacking public legitimacy, and a situation where the perversion becomes an accepted norm. This is precisely the line between cultured individuals and members of Sodom, and it is exactly this line that the march attempts to shatter.


Nations tend to disappear when they lose their original cultural codes, their moral compass. Because after all, what holds a nation together if not a basic moral common denominator? The moment you shatter this common denominator you make the nation crumble and advance its elimination. For other nations of the world this is a process that can last hundreds of years. For us, the people of the book, destruction as result of the loss of our common moral compass is very rapid.


Our enemies are watching the march and telling themselves: "If this is what they are, we are going to win" – and they're right! Because the question in this case isn’t whether homosexual relations are good or bad; it is a question of whether we as a nation have some kind of a basic moral common denominator. Those who regularly attempt to shatter what up until yesterday constituted a common basis for our public life are in fact making an effort to make us crumble as a people and state. We recently saw in the north the worth of a modern military in a society that lost its moral common denominator.


The pride parade turns Jerusalem to Sodom and brings the end of the Jewish state closer. In our time we cannot force anything on anyone. Religious coercion is the stupidest move that can be adopted and must be fought. It would have been better to completely renounce the existence of religious parties. Even more so, we must fight the anti-religious, anti-national, anti-moral, and anti-social coercion homosexuals are attempting to force on all of us seemingly for the sake of openness and tolerance.


The writer is the head of the Likud's "Jewish leadership" division


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Yuval Ben Ami
Seemingly, I'm not a party to this conflict. I'm a moderate secular Israeli who loves Judaism. I'm married and straight, and unless I discover surprising things about myself real soon, I'm expected to remain married and straight this coming Friday. I'm not even a real Jerusalemite, as my parents left the city during my childhood and all that is left is mostly a pleasant memory of going shopping for winter clothes near the Zion Square.


Seemingly, I have nothing to fight for. I also agree with those who believe the insistence on holding the parade in Jerusalem stems from the city's national-religious glorification, which most Leftists condemn. It is also clear to me that the ultra-Orthodox community in the city feels a genuine threat. Those in central Israel can make light of this, shrug their shoulders, and say "what's the story? After all, nobody will allow them to pass through religious neighborhoods." Yet for threatened parties, this has no real significance


Thousands of years of demonization and fabrications turned homosexuals into truly scary creatures in the eyes of the Orthodox, and this horror makes it impossible to convince them that the parade's goal is not to maliciously desecrate Jerusalem, but rather, add to its sanctity. Yet this, precisely, would be the parade's result – it would add holiness to the city.



As the controversy grows, I increasingly appreciate those who will march through the streets of my city of birth. They will arrive in the name of the three values associated with the French Revolution – Liberty, equality, and fraternity. They also come (and I'll add this here knowing that religious Jews who hate them, hate them regardless) in the name of the three values described Paul's first letter to the Corinthians: Faith, hope and love. Whoever brings liberty, equality, fraternity, faith, hope, and love to Jerusalem's gates brings the messiah closer, period.


The Orthodox find themselves barricaded behind very different values. Murder threats do not add to Jerusalem's sanctity. Forgetting the great rule of "love your friend as you love thyself" constitutes terrible desecration of God's name. As a result, the homosexuals who intend to proudly march are perceived as those truly expressing the spirit of Judaism. They may indeed violate one or two rules from the book of Leviticus, which even the most observant Orthodox do not fully follow. At the same time, they preserve values that have been forgotten in over-zealous hearts, including a prime value: Do not do unto others what you don’t want to be done unto you.


They are fighting for the right to be different and be accepted as such. After all, this has been the battle of the Jews for 2,000 years. Anti-Semitic thugs, who used to and still hurt Jews abroad simply because they're Jewish are similar to the thugs who beat up homosexuals across the world. The members of Jerusalem's Orthodox communities are standing by these thugs without even understanding that in doing so they become closer to the spirit of threats leveled by our enemies. Those who say that "the Jews of Kishinev did not march through the city streets and provoked the gentiles," fail to understand that through their insistence on not wiping out their identity, Eastern European Jews were perceived by the rioters as marching in an endless pride parade.


If some Orthodox forget, through their horror and frustration, the commandment "thou shalt not murder," this will serve as evidence that some elements in those communities wholly forgot the deepest meaning of their own religion. Judaism means humanity, and all of it serves as a means to preserve and nurture human qualities in order to glorify the God that created us in his image. Losing our humanity in the name of religion is the greatest irony of all. Those who march for the sake of their right to love each other and their right to be accepted by society are nurturing their human quality. They bring honor to this nation's true values.


Seemingly, I'm not a party to this conflict. I'm not Orthodox, homosexual, or Jerusalemite. But I am Jewish – and therefore I'll be joining the marchers.


The writer is an author and journalist


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פרסום ראשון: 11.07.06, 16:04
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