Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin plans to meet with leaders of the gay community in Israel in honor of Gay Pride Month on Monday, raising the ire of haredi MKs.

“I am astonished over the Knesset Speaker’s decision to host so-called gay families,” MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) said. “I can’t understand his motive.”

Ze’ev said that the event, which was organized for the third year in a row by Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz and will include gay celebrities, is “an insult to the Knesset’s honor, and an insult to Muslims and to traditional Jews who obey mitzvot.”

The Shas MK added that honoring the gay community in the Knesset “encourages the destruction of the family unit” and “reveals the dark side of society.”

Ze’ev said that the Knesset should “direct these people to starting families and continue in the traditions of Judaism and of mankind,” instead of “encouraging them to go in negative directions.”

“Their lifestyle harms the Jewish people,” Ze’ev said. “How can we express Judaism if not by building families?”

On Sunday, Yediot Aharonot reported that United Torah Judaism fiercely opposes the event and Rivlin’s participation.

“They aren’t people like everyone else,” MK and Deputy Education Minister Menahem Eliezer Moses told the paper. “In the Torah it says that this is an abomination, and the fact is that a conference like this is in the Knesset means that a coalition that [UTJ] is a part of is giving it patronage and legitimization. It doesn’t make sense.

“It’s hard for me to believe that the Knesset speaker will go to the event. It’s unlike a Jew like Rivlin to participate in something like this,” Moses added. “The Knesset speaker represents us; we voted for him.

“We can’t allow him to participate in the event. I’m shocked.”

After the article’s publication, all five UTJ MKs refused to comment on the matter.

Rivlin’s office said that the conference has taken place for the past three years, and “the Knesset speaker accepts every group and every opinion. Rivlin plans to say a few words to the group, and that’s it.”

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