Photo: Haim Ziv
MK Ravitz
Photo: Haim Ziv
Rabbis call for end to anti-parade protests
Haredi rabbis urge yeshiva students to refrain from demonstrating against planned gay parade in capital, instruct them to recite prayers instead
Two days before the gay pride parade is set to take place in Jerusalem, haredi rabbis published an official statement in United Torah Judaism's newspaper Yated Ne'eman calling on the strictly-Orthodox public not to hold demonstrations against the parade.


In their statement, the rabbis wrote that yeshiva students should not be out on the streets protesting, but rather reciting prayers against the "terrible abomination." Yeshiva heads were responsible for seeing their students refrain from actively protesting, they added.

Anti-parade protest in Jerusalem Sunday (Photo: Dudi Vaknin)


Compared to last year's events, the weeks preceding this year's parade have so far been relatively peaceful, with only a few demonstrations and isolated violent incidents. On Sunday, some 10,000 people gathered in Jerusalem to protest the parade, but organizers expected a much higher turnout.


'We don't want protest to get out of hand'

Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, head of the Badatz haredi court is leading the struggle and even headed a protest in which pride parade participants were cursed by himself and other Badatz members.


Nonetheless, Tuvia is making efforts to calm the situation and is not interested in violent outbreaks in the streets.


Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef published a notice opposing the parade, but did not call for the Sephardic haredi youths to protest the parade in the streets.


Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, head of Israel's Lithuanian Jewish community also published a notice opposing the parade, but did not act in any way against the parade, his associates however did try to ensure newly elected President Shimon Peres' help in having the parade cancelled or relocated.


According to MK Avraham Ravitz (United Torah Judaism), "The anger and the protest haven't decreased… but there is always the fear that the protest would get out of hand, and the rabbis don't want to encourage this.


"We also don't the protest to become a civil war, and we think that most of the public supports us in protesting the parade."


Ravitz added that the rabbis were concerned for the protestors' well being, in light of police's "uncontrolled brutality" against them.


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