Outrage grows after top rabbi says the Torah demands death penalty for gays.
Many are calling for the resignation of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar after the top Israeli cleric said that homosexuality was punishable by death.
The chief rabbi told an Israeli newspaper that homosexuality is an “abomination,” and that Jewish law advocates the death penalty for those who choose to engage in same sex relationships:
I call it a cult. It’s a cult of abominations, it is obvious. It’s an abomination. The Torah says it is punishable by death. It is in the first rank of severe offenses… They say ‘leaning,’ ‘perversion’ – this is nonsense. There is lust, and a person can overcome it if they want to, like all lusts. This is among the most forbidden lusts, the most severe.
In reaction to the offensive and dangerous remarks, members of the LGBT community and others concerned with civil liberties in Israel have filed police complaints against the rabbi for incitement to murder.
In addition, political and community leaders are calling for Rabbi Amar to be removed from his role as the current leader of the Sephardic Jewish community in Jerusalem.
JPost reports many politicians are speaking out against Rabbi Amar, including MKs Yael German (Yesh Atid) and Merav Michaeli (Zionist Union), who wrote to Religious Services Minister David Azoulay of Shas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling on them to fire Amar.
The MKs wrote in their letter that Amar was “exploiting his position for a campaign of dangerous incitement against a large public group in Israel,” adding that “a public figure who endangers the safety of Israeli citizens by discrimination and incitement should be fired from their position immediately.”
In a more light-hearted response to Rabbi Amar’s controversial and dangerous remarks, LGBT rights activists in Israel raised rainbow “LGBT Pride” flags outside the chief rabbi’s offices to protest the derogatory and demeaning statements.
Bottom line: If your holy book tells you to kill people, it might be time to read a different book.