US Jewish group slam Beit Shemesh mayor over anti-gay slurs

DC Jewish Federation heads express outrage after Moshe Abutbul says gays should be "taken care of" by Health Ministry.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
November 12, 2013 12:55
1 minute read.
Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbol

Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbol. (photo credit: Atara Beck)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

WASHINGTON – The mayor of Beit Shemesh is facing blowback from American Jewish groups after calling gays a health problem that needs to be “taken care of.”

“There are no gays in my city, thank God,” Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul told Channel 10 News earlier this week, referring to gays as unholy and impure.

“Expressions of intolerance have no place in Israeli public discourse, especially coming from elected officials,” Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement on Tuesday, calling on Abutbul to apologize. “We strongly condemn the insensitive and hurtful comments made by Beit Shemesh’s mayor about his city’s LGBT population.”

In a published letter to Abutbul on Monday, leaders of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington asked the mayor to retract his comments, calling them hurtful, offensive and false.

“We are outraged by your comments recently on Channel 10, in which you said there are no homosexuals in your ‘holy and pure’ city,” read the letter.

Washington’s local government has a sister-city relationship with Beit Shemesh.

Jewish and pro-Israel groups in the United States are uniformly supportive of equal rights initiatives for gays, often highlighting shared democratic values between the two nations. B’nai B’rith International, currently fighting for a law on Capitol Hill that will prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians in the workplace, characterized itself as “a staunch supporter of equality and tolerance” this week.

Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, whose ministry is responsible for local government, expressed disgust at Abutbul’s statements.

“What the mayor of Beit Shemesh said against gays is dark and outrageous,” Sa’ar wrote on Facebook. “I condemn his words and hope all local authorities will remember this verse from Pirkei Avot [Ethics of Our Fathers 1:11]: Be cautious in your words, for you may be exiled and banished to a place of heresy, and the disciples who follow you there may drink and die, and the Name of Heaven will be desecrated.”

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF

Cookie Settings