J'lem haredi rabbis torn over Pride Parade protests
Badatz rabbis give in to claims that 'educational damage' caused by protests outweigh any good they bring. Some rabbis still insist on calling for demonstration against next week's parade. Meanwhile,rightists Itamar Ben-Gvir, Baruch Marzel continue struggle, saying, 'It is our duty to protest; one day there will be no parade'
Jerusalem's Pride Parade is scheduled to take place next week, but this year, three years after the international gay pride events that sparked the city, and after two years of more minor protests, the rabbis of the city's ultra-Orthodox community have decided not to demonstrate against the parade.
Throughout the previous protests against the event, there have always been voices from within the community arguing that the educational damage caused by the demonstrations outweighed their good, and the Badatz rabbis have finally given in to such arguments.
There remain, however, a number of members of the rabbinical court who have still insisted on signing posters calling for protests against the parade. Heads of the community have decided not to publicly go against these protests in order to keep the peace.
The influence the highly-publicized riots of past few years have had on the children of the ultra-Orthodox community, some of whom have been seen amusing themselves by playing "marcher and protester", has lead rabbis to change their policy.
Shmuel Fafenheim, a member of the community, told Ynet the international Pride Parade that took place in the city three years ago was part of a chain of events that went on all summer, including exhibitions and other street events to the point where "it was impossible to burry our heads in the sand, and there was an uprising and major storm".
Since then, he says the community's heads have gradually lowered the flames and now they all share the same opinion as to how to approach the protest.
'We will stop Jerusalem from being defiled'
The rabbis' decision not to protest against the parade has not deterred other fanatics in the city from doing so, and posters slamming the municipality and the mayor have already been posted around Jerusalem saying, "We will take to the city's streets a war on Amalek, we will carry the sword of the covenant. We will save Jerusalem from shame. We will stop it from being defiled."
The posters were signed by the committee of rabbis for the sanctity of Jerusalem.
Right-wing activists Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is also behind some of the posters, said they had won "great sympathy in the haredi neighborhoods", and added he will not back down and is in contact with ultra-Orthodox rabbis who plan to call for a protest against the parade.
"I am deeply disappointed with the haredi heads' failure to tackle the matter in depth, but, on the other had, I know that the haredi street is not just against the parade, but for a protest," he told Ynet.
Ben-Gvir's partner in the struggle, Baruch Marzel said, "Those that are now afraid of the influence on the youth are the same people who publish posters against internet cafes, and the haredi youth, which is not exposed to this at home, hears about it through the posters and runs to see what they're about."
"The haredim are currently fighting against (having the Safra Square parking lot) open on Shabbat, and are afraid to lead two battles at once. But we are doing everything to get people out on the street. It is our duty to protest and we are certain that one day, there will be no parade. They keep expanding it and making it bigger, but we will chop it down and have it eliminated," he added.