Shas MK Yigal Guetta.
(photo credit: KNESSET)
The somewhat unconventional Shas MK Yigal Gueta submitted his resignation as MK to party chairman and Interior Minister Arye Deri on Wednesday, after coming under fire from prominent rabbis for attending the wedding of his gay nephew some two years ago.
His resignation prompted several lawmakers from the non-haredi parties to call on him to reconsider, and Shas MKs have also sought to convince Gueta to reconsider his resignation.
According to a Channel 2 report, there are now efforts within Shas’s Council of Torah Sages to find a resolution whereby the MK would keep his seat by apologizing for having openly discussed attending the wedding, without apologizing for actually having attended.
The MK himself appeared to cast doubt over whether he would be stepping down, telling haredi radio station Kol Hai on Wednesday afternoon that the matter would be decided finally by Rosh Hashana, next week.
Nevertheless, Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Nava Boker said that she had scheduled a meeting with Gueta on Thursday to receive his letter of resignation, although she had tried to convince him to reconsider.
The storm around Gueta broke last week when he was interviewed on Army Radio and spoke about how, two years ago, his sister from Kibbutz Ginossar called him to tell him that her son was getting married.
“Here’s a scoop, hold on tight,” the Shas MK enthused, before continuing to describe how his nephew had told him he was marrying a man, and how he had nevertheless attended the wedding along with his wife and children.
“We went together to the wedding, I, my wife and my children, even though in general I don’t tell my children where to go, but this time I told everyone “attendance is mandatory,” and we went and celebrated with them,” said Gueta, adding, however, that he told his children that the wedding was “forbidden according to Jewish law.”
This admission led to denunciations from several quarters, including the dean of the capital’s prestigious Porat Yosef Yeshiva, Rabbi Moshe Tzadka, and Rabbi Ben Tzion Motzpi, which eventually led Gueta to submit his resignation to Deri, who accepted it.
The MK received backing, however, from liberal members of Knesset, including Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who described the Shas man as an excellent lawmaker and a friend.
“It’s sad that in Israel in 2017 an MK is forced to resign because he participated in the wedding of two people who love each other,” Lapid said on Twitter.
And Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli called on Gueta to retract his resignation, and on Deri to reject it.
“This is a good moment to be reminded that everyone is created in the image of God,” said Michaeli.
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