Yuval Noah Harari.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Ahead of Friday’s Tel Aviv Pride Parade, celebrated author Prof. Yuval Noah Harari rejected criticism of the event for its excesses and extravagance on Thursday.
“As a historian, I can say that nudity has killed very few people throughout history; religious extremism has killed millions. Therefore, let’s solve this problem first, and then I am committed to facing the problem of people who participate in the Pride Parade shirtless,” he said in an interview with Army Radio.
Harari’s international bestsellers, including Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2014), Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016), and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018), have been translated into more than 50 languages and have sold more than 20 million copies.
The author, who teaches history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told Army Radio that being gay has influenced his worldview, including the way he looks at history and science.
“When I was a child, I would hear a lot of stories about the fact that the world is divided into boys and girls – and boys like girls, and girls like boys. It took me many years to understand that this is just a story that people found. The reality is completely different,” he explained.
“I learned many things about human suffering that I would not have known otherwise,” he added, emphasizing that as a non-believer, he still thought, “Even if there is a God, it is certain that he does not punish anyone for love.”
Last summer, Harari came under fire for refusing to participate in an event at the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles.
In an interview, the Kiryat Ata-born historian rejected the accusations of supporting a boycott against Israel.
“I am very proud to be Israeli, and in all the countries where I am published – including Muslim countries such as Iran, Turkey or the United Arab Emirates – I am presented as an Israeli scholar,” he noted.
“However, I do not want to appear as a representative of a body whose policy advocates restricting freedom of expression,” he explained. “I do make a distinction between the country and the government. I am very proud of the country and I am happy to represent it at any opportunity.”