J’lem chief rabbi asks mayor to remove pride flags

Rabbi Aryeh Stern describes gay pride flags as symbolizing “the opposite” of holiness, and says he is “saddened” that the parade is taking place at all.

LGBT flag on Jerusalem's King George Street, July 31, 2018 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
LGBT flag on Jerusalem's King George Street, July 31, 2018
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern has sent a letter to Mayor Nir Barkat asking him to take down the rainbow-striped gay pride flags situated outside two synagogues where the city’s Pride Parade is slated to pass on Thursday.
In his letter on Tuesday to Barkat, the rabbi said that he was again “greatly saddened” that the event “with which the spirit of wise men is not comfortable” was taking place at all, and asked that the gay pride flags outside two of the city’s major synagogues be taken down.
“Although it has already been made clear to us that it is impossible to prevent this march, one request we do have is that the flags not be flown on King George Street on the section by the Great Synagogue and the Yeshurun Synagogue which are considered to be symbols of the holiness of Jerusalem,” wrote Stern.
“Everyone is able to understand that flags which unfortunately symbolize the opposite should not be flown there,” added the city’s chief rabbi.
Stern has in the past made a similar request.
More recently, the rabbi has expressed opposition to allowing child surrogacy for gay men against the background of the controversy surrounding the new law passed by the Knesset on the matter.
Stern said last week that allowing surrogacy for gay couples would cause “children to be born and enter a very strange and unnatural life, a life without a mother and father,” and that these children’s lives would become “wretched.”
His comments sparked a backlash, followed by a splenetic letter signed by 200 rabbis including the senior-most leaders of the conservative wing of the National Religious movement condemning surrogacy and adoption for gays on Thursday, describing homosexuals as “perverts.”
A spokesman for the Jerusalem Municipal Council did not respond to a request for comment as to whether the mayor would agree to Stern’s request.
However, The Jerusalem Post understands that the flags will not be taken down. In 2005, then mayor Uri Lupoliansky and the Jerusalem municipal council refused to allow the gay pride parade to take place in the city, and refused to fly the gay pride flags from municipal street lamps.
The Jerusalem District Court ruled that the municipal council was obligated to allow both the parade and the placement of the flags, and ordered that the municipal council and Lupoliansky pay NIS 60,000 in legal costs.