Rabbi Yigal Levinstein
Rabbi Yigal LevinsteinPhoto: Libah

The Defense Ministry this afternoon (Monday) released a strong condemnation of the remarks made by the head of the pre-military academy in Eli, Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, in which he labelled homosexuals "deviants".

Director-General of the Defense Ministry Udi Adam directed the Ministry department that oversees the pre-military academies to demand clarification of the remarks from the Eli academy.

Jewish Home head Naftali Bennett had addressed the matter earlier, saying the "Jewish law is meant to define what is prohibited and what is permitted, it is not meant to be a tool for dividing or marking people, identities, or population sectors.

"You can't use derogatory language against an entire community and then hide behind Jewish law. The comments are unacceptable in my eyes. This is not the way of Religious Zionism."

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said earlier today that the Ministry will conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. Speaking at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Liberman said there is no longer any place for attacks against entire population segments and that everyone must be treated with tolerance. He made sure to add that there are 54 pre-military academies with 3750 students who are loyal to Zionist and Jewish values, of whom many eventually become army officers.

MK Tzipi Livni of the Zionist Union said that the "hate speech", as she calls it, of Rabbi Levinstein and other Rabbis, isn't just a matter of isolated incidents, but rather reflects on a larger process that threatens Israel's identity as a Jewish and democratic state.

Livni added that the Prime Minister is the one who should put a stop to this process, but he's waiting on Bennett and doesn't do anything. Even if he "mumbles something", says Livni, he won't take any action against the seeds of hatred that have been planted in our midst.