President Reuven Rivlin.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A haredi school which had invited President Reuven Rivlin to participate in a lesson on unconditional love – decided instead to disinvite him.
As first reported by Army Radio, Rivlin had been scheduled to join a class on Sunday on unconditional love at the Talmud Torah Kehilat Yaakov in Jerusalem’s Ramot Gimmel neighborhood. But he was disinvited following his recent outspoken support of the gay and lesbian community and the remarks he made following the stabbing at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem last month.
A statement released by the president’s office said the school’s decision had been received with regret – and hope that there will nonetheless be many participants at the event.
Haredi sources on the Jerusalem Municipal Council reportedly hinted that Rivlin’s comments on the Gay Pride Parade and his strong denunciation of Jewish terrorism in the wake of the Duma attack – were not acceptable in certain sectors, leading to rabbinical pressure to cancel the invitation.
A member of the president’s staff told The Jerusalem Post that it was strange the organizers of the event were unaware of Rivlin’s long track record of support for the LGBT community.
Rivlin has also frequently spoken out in favor of giving equal opportunities to haredim and against negative stereotypes.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat criticized the decision while warmly praising Rivlin’s work to unite the Jewish people.
“The school’s decision is inconsistent with our duty, especially at present, to educate our children in all sectors of the population toward unconditional love, acceptance of the, tolerance and reconciliation,” said Barkat.
Shas MK Ya’acov Margi described it as “harmful and insulting.” He added that if the facts of the incident as reported were correct, Education Minister Naftali Bennett should investigate whether or not to fire the principal of the school.
Senior haredi political leaders, including Shas chairman Arye Deri and United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni, spoke out strongly against the attack at the gay pride parade and said that the murder there of Shira Banki was contradictory to Judaism and the Torah.