One of the most prominent leaders of the national religious world and chief municipal rabbi of Ramat Gan, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, gave a ruling earlier this week in which he stated that it is forbidden to rent an apartment to two lesbian women.
Ariel is one of several rabbis who responds to questions of Jewish law on the popular religious Internet forum yeshiva.org.
On Monday, an anonymous questioner wrote that a young woman applied to rent his apartment, and in the course of his conversation with her it became apparent that she was lesbian and that she wished to live in the apartment with her partner.
“Is there a prohibition in Jewish law that would prevent me renting the apartment to her because of her relationship?” the person asked.
Ariel responded that if both women are jointly renting the apartment together then it would be forbidden.
He added that if just one of them would be officially renting the apartment then it would be permitted, although it would be preferable to take up another applicant if there were any.
Havruta, an association of religious gays, lesbians and transsexuals, condemned the comments as “homophobic” and the denial of rights to gay men and women in the name of observing Judaism.
“Homophobia, transphobia and hatred of the other truly endangers those whose sexual orientation or identification is different from what society expects,” the group said in response to Ariel’s ruling.
“We call on anyone for whom the values of democracy, tolerance and acceptance of the other are important to join us in our criticism of the rabbi, who speaks in the name of the official rabbinate of the State of Israel.”