Labor group: Probe councilman for incitement
Rabbi Yaakov Halperin denies incitement against gays, said he merely quoted passage from Torah at J'lem City Council meeting.
Protesting for gay marriage [illustrative] Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Members of the Labor Party’s LGBT Circle called on the attorney-general on
Tuesday to investigate suspicions that a Jerusalem councilman incited violence
against homosexuals in a recent council meeting.
Councilman Rabbi Yaakov
Halperin (United Torah Judaism) cited Torah verses calling for homosexuals to be
killed during a recent meeting to discuss budgets for Jerusalem Open House, the
capital’s gay and lesbian center, according to Dan Slyper, cochairman of the
Labor Party LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender)
Halperin allegedly quoted a passage from Leviticus, which says,
“If a man lies with a male, as with a woman, both of them have committed an
abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon
“There is no other way to interpret these words except as blatant
incitement against this population group, and I am concerned that this crosses
the fine line between freedom of expression and incitement to murder,” Slyper
said in a letter to Weinstein.
“Similar statements in the past have led
to serious acts of violence against the gay and lesbian communities” in
Jerusalem, Slyper said.
“A call to murder, even if made under the guise
of citing the Torah, is still a call to murder,” Slyper said on Tuesday, adding
that the attorney-general had investigated the authors of the book Torat
Hamelech (“The King’s Torah”), which deals with the attitude of Jews toward
gentiles in wartime and states that gentile children can be preemptively
“The limits to freedom of speech are clear, and incitement to
murder is a line that cannot be crossed,” Slyper said. “If I quoted historical
personages who called for the murder of Jews, could I get away with saying that
this is merely a quotation?” Labor Party general secretary Yechiel Bar added
that Israel should not permit calls to kill homosexuals, “like in
Halperin told The Jerusalem Post that what he had said was not
incitement, but a direct citation from the Torah regarding a specific
“I did not incite, I merely quoted exactly what is written
in the Torah, whose mitzvot were given by God and form the basis of the Jewish
people,” he said.
“I didn’t write those mitzvot – they were given by God,
and I have to obey them, just like the commandment that says ‘do not steal,” he
added. “I am not inciting against anyone, I am just a simple Jew who wants to
obey the Torah as given to the Jewish people by God.”