LGBTQ couple's vehicle vandalized over Shabbat in W. Bank settlement

An LGBTQ couple's vehicle was vandalized while they spent Shabbat with family in a religious settlement.

Man holds a Star of David rainbow flag at the 2017 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Man holds a Star of David rainbow flag at the 2017 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The vehicle of an LGBTQ couple who were visiting family in a religious settlement in the West Bank was vandalized over Shabbat, B'Sheva editor Yoni Rotenberg reported on Saturday night.

"I am shocked," tweeted Rotenberg. "My brother-in-law and his partner were staying in a religious settlement in the West Bank on Shabbat. On Shabbat morning, they passed by their vehicle and saw that one of the tires had been slashed, two hubcaps had been removed and pro-LGBTQ+ stickers had been peeled off."

"Apparently the vandals understood that chasing LGBTQ+ people overrides [the rules of] Shabbat," added Rotenberg. "My conservative positions are well known, but this is crossing a very dangerous line."

The replies to the tweet were mixed, with a number of Twitter users claiming that, while they did not support acts like vandalism, the couple should have never entered the settlement.

Bera'le Crombie, a publicist and strategist who worked with Jerusalem deputy mayor Hagit Moshe, ridiculed Rotenberg's statement saying the act "crossed a dangerous line," writing that Rotenberg's brother-in-law "should not come with 'his partner' to a religious settlement for Shabbat and should not park his car with LGBTQ+ stickers."

Crombie added that he "of course" is against any form of violence.

Rotenberg responded that his brother-in-law is shomer Shabbat (observant of Shabbat laws) and was visiting his family, adding that Crombie had "shown himself as a person pretty washed in hate."

Another user called the visit by the couple to their family in a religious settlement with a vehicle that had LGBTQ+ stickers on it was "sticking their finger in people's eyes."

The incident comes a week after a group of LGBTQ+ youth were violently attacked by teenagers near the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem while they were on their way to a conference on transgender issues being held in Tel Aviv.

An annual report by the Nir Katz Center of the Agudah – The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel found that LGBT-phobic cases were reported once every three hours in 2020 in Israel, as 2,696 new incidents of hate and violence against the LGBTQ+ community were reported amid the coronavirus outbreak, a 27% increase compared to 2019.

Havruta, a religious Jewish LGBTQ+ advocacy group, condemned the attack on members of the religious LGBTQ+ community, saying "It is sad to see how a bunch of cowards damage, over and over again, the property of a couple just because they are two religious men, who came to do Shabbat with their family in the settlement."

"Apparently the pests have not heard about Torah law, because there is no permit for damage to another's property," added the organization. "It's too bad that the cowards have enough courage to peel off stickers at night, but not to talk to a gay man once in their life."

Havruta demanded that the local authorities do a self-examination and ensure the security of everyone who visits the settlement and their belongings, "even if, heaven forfend, they have a little more color on their belongings than usual."