Just days after the LGBT community was rattled by what it perceived as an anti-gay rant by a member of Knesset, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) on Monday stated that the IDF should not draft homosexuals into its ranks.

Asked by a Knesset Channel reporter whether he supported the IDF drafting gay civilians, Ariel said: “If I had to choose I would not draft them.” Ariel added that he believes homosexuality “distracts the army from its main task of fighting.”

“We must always ask ourselves whether or not we are acting in accordance with Jewish values and the Torah,” he said. “The Torah comes out against this phenomenon harshly and levels very heavy penalties [for homosexuality].”

Responding to Ariel, opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich said: “The latest assault on the gay community is a primitive and dangerous attack that comes in at a time when the Israeli public is finding enlightenment and tolerance, and is accepting the community as equals.”

“MKs attacking the community may earn them political points, but their incitement endangers the gay community and damages the state of Israel,” she added.

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Monday condemned Ariel’s comments as “anti-gay” and “disturbing.”

“An attack or discrimination against someone because of their sexual preference or way of life is outrageous and harmful to human dignity,” Sa’ar stated.

He added: “Public figures must come out against statements of this kind, clearly and unequivocally, and say ‘enough is enough,’ in order to preserve Israel as an enlightened and tolerant nation.”

Dror Mizrahi, chairman of the Meretz Pride Forum, responded to Ariel, saying that the the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community serves in the IDF with pride. “Thankfully, Uri Ariel and his friends in the hallucinatory Right do not decide the IDF’s draft policy.

Many gays and lesbians join the IDF and have meaningful and proud service, and this will continue despite Ariel.”

The Labor Party’s gay faction also condemned Ariel’s comments, saying: “We regret that once again voices from the right-wing betray ignorance and intolerance toward the LGBT community.

MK Ariel’s comments are serious and demonstrate a complete lack of respect for thousands of gay soldiers.”

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