Less than one day after Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) publicly repented for questioning the use of the word “family” with regard to homosexual couples, MK Moshe Feiglin of Likud-Beytenu has sprung to defend Piron's original comments, and lament his surrender to “terror.”
"Like a pack of wolves descending, at the sound of a whistle, on the poor guy who strayed from the fold, so everyone jumped on Piron,” he wrote on Facebook. “Piron, who apparently thought that as a favorite of the gender, was out of the range of this danger, mistakenly lifted his head above the trench and no apologies will help him now. Immediately! Crossfire from all sides, fire meant to kill, that is backed up by all the news media, and is meant only for delegitimation and political assassination. No discussion, no debate, nothing that comes close to that – just chop off the head that peeked and leave the other heads buried deep inside the trenches, for fear of that terror.”
"And all this is done in the name of the values of courage and freedom... so who is locked inside the closet now? Shai Piron? Or [homosexual MK and gay rights advocate] Nitzan Horowitz?”
The natural family, asserted Feiglin, is the building block of society. “Yes, I see family as a value under attack, a value that must be defended. The entire western civilization is currently caving in because of the loss of family values. The Jewish state that we established after 2,000 years cannot afford to join this trend.”
Feiglin added that the state has no right to prevent people from choosing to live in whatever kind of relationship they prefer, but “the attempt to force a new statement of values upon the majority, through legislation that is accompanied by Politically Correct terror, is unacceptable.”
Feiglin noted that at the beginning of his Knesset term, he met with gay people and embraced their rights, but added: "It is becoming apparent that the dominant voice among homosexuals is not one of dialogue – like the voice of the friends I got to know – but a violent voice of censorship.”
It is “completely legitimate” to believe that there is a substantial difference between the natural family, made up of a male and a female, and any other kind of relationship, he averred. “One can argue and try to convince, people can remain in disagreement and that is completely fine – but you cannot force a person whose world of values is diferent from yours to shut his mouth. This bullying will eventually cause damage to the cause of the homosexuals. One can already sense the indignation it is arousing. Because force does not create legitimacy. It creates aversion.”
'It was a terrible thing to say'
Responding to heavy pressure, Piron over the weekend backtracked on a statement he made Thursday, when he said that same-sex couples could not consider themselves “families.” Piron said that he had misspoken, and that “it was a terrible thing to say. It is not for me to say what is and isn't a family.”
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Piron, an ordained Orthodox rabbi, had said that “it was the right of Israel, perhaps even its obligation, to tell same-sex couples that they could not be considered 'families.' However, we would grant them full economic rights.” Piron made the comments in the context of a discussion on the secular legislative leanings of MKs in Yesh Atid.
Piron caught a great deal of criticism for those comments from MKs and gay advocacy groups. On Saturday night, Piron backtracked and said that he had no business making that comment. “There is a constant tension between religious belief and liberal society,” he told Channel Ten. “All I said was that it was possible to debate the question of 'familyhood' for homosexuals. I will not allow anyone to disqualify anyone for that standing, or for anything else, but that does not mean that the tension is not there.”
When asked what he thought about “gay families,” Piron said that a same-sex couple “is, from a civil, social, economic, and cultural point of view a family for all practical purposes. Religiously there is an issue, and this is a problem that must be solved.
“What most bothers me about this incident are the feelings of the children and adults I have hurt,” Piron said. “I look at them directly and say 'I am sorry.' I am conducting an ongoing dialogue with the gay community,” Piron added, “unlike that any other religious leader is doing in Israel today.”