Ya’alon on Marriage: Defending Israel’s Values?

David Rubin,

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David Rubin
David Rubin is former mayor of Shiloh, Israel. He is founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children"s Fund, and the author of five books, including The Islamic Tsunami and his latest, More Sparks From Zion. For more info, click on these links: www.DavidRubinIsrael.com or www.ShilohIsraelChildren.org...

After the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court granted the legal stamp of approval to homosexual marriage, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) weighed in on the issue of public recognition and authorization of same-sex marriage. In an unexpected public announcement, Ya’alon expressed his personal approval, stating, “I hope countries, including Israel, will follow in the footsteps of the United States and grant this basic right to all."

While it wasn’t quite clear why a defense minister needed to speak out on such a social issue, it did raise the question of how Israel will relate to the monumental decision, which most Americans on both sides of the issue would agree was akin to a social earthquake.

By a razor-thin 5-4 majority, the US Supreme Court had just ruled that the US Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Since Israeli jurisprudence often follows American precedent, will Israel soon be moving in the same path when it comes to what has been trumped as “human rights for all”, and will we soon follow this latest American legal revision of its values system?

 In a free society, everyone has the right to live his personal life the way he wishes, as long as he’s not hurting others. Sexual and intimate social issues are left to the individual bedroom and no one has the right to pry and interfere in what consenting adults choose to do. The difficulty lies in what the society publicly recognizes as being the societal norm. Every stable society throughout history has established standards for what it defines as the common good. No stealing, no polygamy, and no rape are obvious examples that are by no means the standard in all countries, but have been the recognized and legally-approved norm in Western civilization.

With the latest U.S. Supreme Court decision, the traditional nuclear family, an institution central in the Judeo-Christian standards that have guided the United States since its inception, has been thrown to the wolves. What will be next? Relaxation of public nudity laws, perhaps? Legalized marriage between siblings, perhaps? Maybe even bestiality? When there is no moral compass for public be‎havior, things fall apart and no one knows where to draw the line. As a result of the now widespread 1960’s philosophy of relative truth, a large portion of American society gradually abandoned the basic principles of the Bible, the system of morality that had been its general guide for over 200 years. The traditional family of husband, wife and children that had been the bedrock of the society soon began to collapse. Along with the new norm of birth out of wedlock, more and more Americans are foregoing traditional marriage. A recent study reported that 60% of households on the island of Manhattan are single person households.

So what will be the direction of our little Middle Eastern “light unto the nations”? Israel is a bit of an anomaly that often defies the trends in the Western world. Despite the loud and colorful LGBT parades that have become an annual ritual in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in recent years, same-sex marriage is unlikely to be approved anytime soon, as marriage in Israel continues to be assertively traditional. Furthermore, periodic studies reveal a profound thirst for Jewish tradition and observance, even among supposedly secular Jews. A natural result of that trend is that, contrary to the patterns of reproductive be‎havior in the United States and Europe, the sizes of Jewish families are growing, along with the practice of Jewish religious ritual, and it’s happening within traditional husband-wife-children families. Aside from the Torah’s clear prohibition of homosexual relationships, the man-woman marriage relationship is clearly the basis for a positive Jewish family life throughout the Torah and its commentaries. Therefore, the current societal move in Israel towards tradition makes it highly unlikely that the established standard would go the other way.

Israel’s activist and very liberal Supreme Court may seek to follow its American counterpart, but if it attempts to do so, it will be bucking the prevailing social trends in Israel, making it extremely unlikely that such a blatantly political move would succeed.