Labor group: Probe councilman for incitement

Rabbi Yaakov Halperin denies incitement against gays, said he merely quoted passage from Torah at J'lem City Council meeting.

Gay marriage  (photo credit: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)
Gay marriage
(photo credit: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)
Members of the Labor Party’s LGBT Circle called on the attorney-general on Tuesday to investigate suspicions that a Jerusalem councilman incited violence against homosexuals in a recent council meeting.
Councilman Rabbi Yaakov Halperin (United Torah Judaism) cited Torah verses calling for homosexuals to be killed during a recent meeting to discuss budgets for Jerusalem Open House, the capital’s gay and lesbian center, according to Dan Slyper, cochairman of the Labor Party LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Circle.
Halperin allegedly quoted a passage from Leviticus, which says, “If a man lies with a male, as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
“There is no other way to interpret these words except as blatant incitement against this population group, and I am concerned that this crosses the fine line between freedom of expression and incitement to murder,” Slyper said in a letter to Weinstein.
“Similar statements in the past have led to serious acts of violence against the gay and lesbian communities” in Jerusalem, Slyper said.
“A call to murder, even if made under the guise of citing the Torah, is still a call to murder,” Slyper said on Tuesday, adding that the attorney-general had investigated the authors of the book Torat Hamelech (“The King’s Torah”), which deals with the attitude of Jews toward gentiles in wartime and states that gentile children can be preemptively killed.
“The limits to freedom of speech are clear, and incitement to murder is a line that cannot be crossed,” Slyper said. “If I quoted historical personages who called for the murder of Jews, could I get away with saying that this is merely a quotation?” Labor Party general secretary Yechiel Bar added that Israel should not permit calls to kill homosexuals, “like in Iran.”
Halperin told The Jerusalem Post that what he had said was not incitement, but a direct citation from the Torah regarding a specific commandment.
“I did not incite, I merely quoted exactly what is written in the Torah, whose mitzvot were given by God and form the basis of the Jewish people,” he said.
“I didn’t write those mitzvot – they were given by God, and I have to obey them, just like the commandment that says ‘do not steal,” he added. “I am not inciting against anyone, I am just a simple Jew who wants to obey the Torah as given to the Jewish people by God.”