Bayit Yehudi rabbi protests Bennett's lesbian aide

Rabbi Yisrael Rozen has threatened to leave the party three times, but has never followed through.

August 17, 2017 15:29
2 minute read.
Naftali Bennett

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, a member of Bayit Yehudi’s elected Presidential Board, made waves on Thursday by threatening to leave the party because its leader, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, employs a lesbian woman as his spokeswoman.

But the story is not as simple as it was reported by Yediot Aharonot. Rozen, head of the Zomet Institute for technology and Jewish law, is a serial quitter. This is the third time he has expressed outrage over something the party has done by saying he is leaving. Some in the party accused Rozen of seeking attention while having a different ax to grind.

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A month ago, Adi Galor, the partner of Bennett’s spokeswoman, Brit Galor Perets, posted a photo on Facebook of themselves and their two children, in which she spoke out against the Labor and Social Services Ministry’s decision to prioritize heterosexual couples over gay ones for adopting children. The post garnered mass media attention, and Bennett said he “values people according to their character and not their sexual orientation.”

Rozen wrote a letter this week to Bayit Yehudi’s leadership, saying he decided to resign because, in his opinion, a lesbian woman cannot represent a religious party.

“I have nothing against her or [gay people], but I think that this community is disqualified because it is defiant, and its displays of pride are unacceptable in a party that claims to represent religious Zionism,” he wrote.

Bennett responded on Twitter: “Whoever thinks that I should discriminate against a person based on his or her sexual orientation, gender or skin color, will receive a total refusal from me.”

The education minister added that all people were created in the image of God.

Rozen did not actually tender his resignation to the party as of Thursday afternoon.

The prominent religious-Zionist rabbi has claimed he is going to resign from Bayit Yehudi twice before: Once when Bennett recruited soccer star Eli Ohana for the party’s Knesset candidates list (Ohana stepped down within days), and again because he said the party was adopting the more stringent haredi line on conversion, and not the more welcoming religious- Zionist one. Rozen was the founder of the Chief Rabbinate’s conversion authority.

A party source said Rozen sought to lead part of the discussion at Bayit Yehudi’s ideological conference next month and was recently rejected, positing that as his real reason for threatening to resign. To back up his argument, the source questioned why Rozen waited a month after the Facebook post about Galor Perets to say anything.

Galor Perets declined to comment on the matter.

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