Chief rabbi of Jerusalem Amar criticized over comments on homosexuality

“It’s not natural, it’s not normal and the Torah called this thing an abomination," Amar says of homosexuality.

September 30, 2015 19:28
1 minute read.
Shlomo Amar

Former chief rabbi Shlomo Amar at Western Wall. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Shlomo Amar has been criticized from several quarters after stating that the public is “disgusted” by homosexuality.

“I believe this phenomenon will get smaller and will cancel itself out because the majority of the public is disgusted by it and sick of it,” Amar said in an interview earlier this week with the haredi B’Hadrei Haredim website. “It’s not natural, it’s not normal and the Torah called this thing an abomination, and for sure we need to find the right way to fight against it in a better way.”

However, he condemned the “terrible act of bloodshed” at August’s Gay Pride Parade in the capital, during which Yishai Schlissel, a haredi resident of the city, stabbed to death 16-year old Shira Banki and wounded five others, adding that there had been no justification for Schlissel’s actions.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat criticized Amar’s comments on homosexuality, saying on Wednesday saying that “everyone has a place in Jerusalem.”

In addition, Havruta, an association of religious homosexuals, condemned Amar’s comments and said they could lead to further attacks against the gay community.

“The words of the chief rabbi of Jerusalem constitute severe incitement and are extremely harmful,” the organization said in a statement.

“Even though his words are testament to ignorance, and blatant and burning hatred of the other, they are likely to lead to self-hatred and even to actual injury against many youths in Jerusalem,” the group said. “This homophobia among rabbis who are leading opinion-makers and public servants has to stop immediately. The time has come that such words be considered in the State of Israel to be incitement and against the law, since they are likely to lead to actual injury against an entire community.”

Daniel Jonas, chairman of Havruta, said: “We are not embarrassed about who we are; we have done this enough. It is important for us to say to Rabbi Amar, and all public figures, that your words have meaning.”

Jonas called on Amar to retract his comments, saying members of the organization were willing to sit down with him and advise him on such matters.

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